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    Original Essays | July 14, 2015

    Joshua Mohr: IMG Your Imagination, Your Fingerprint

    When I was in grad school, a teacher told our workshop that if a published novel is 300 pages, the writer had to generate 1,200 along the way. I... Continue »
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      All This Life

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The Committed Life: Principles for Good Living from Our Timeless Past


The Committed Life: Principles for Good Living from Our Timeless Past Cover

ISBN13: 9780060930851
ISBN10: 0060930853
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"A long life is not good enough,
but a good life is long enough."
A Committed Life
My husband was a paradigm of commitment in public as in private life, in war as in peace, in health as in illness, in life as in death. His dedication never faltered. In forty years of marriage I never heard him utter an unkind word, raise his voice, or lose his temper. He was a true reflection of his name, Meshulem, which in Hebrew means "complete," and indeed, he was a complete man.
The Mishna teaches that there are things in life that have no prescribed measure, things to which we must commit ourselves with a full heart, without reservation, without holding back. They include gifts for the poor and offerings to G-d, acts of loving-kindness, and study of the Torah, all of which make for a committed life.
Unfortunately, this threefold formula eludes most people because we live in a world in which our priorities have become skewed. We indulge in excess where we should be disciplined (materialism and physical pleasure), and we stint where we should be openhanded. We fail to recognize our responsibilities to the poor, our obligation to be generous and kind, and our imperative to study the Torah, and because of that, we do not understand the challenges of a committed life.
My husband understood. He lived by these precepts. He gave of himself above and beyond. To him, each and every person was holy. He reached out to one and all with generosity and love.
Every Friday, before the Sabbath, he would empty my freezer and take little gifts of cake and challah to the widows and widowers and those in need. You might, of course, wonder how it can be that people were in need ofchallah and cake in a Long Island community. Thank G-d, such abject poverty was rare, but there are many forms of need. My husband heard the silent cries of lonely, broken hearts, and he responded to them. When he visited hospitals, it wasn't just a matter of discharging his rabbinic duties, and the story of little Yaffa is a case in point.
Yaffa, a kindergartner, fell from the monkey bars in her school playground. She was rushed to the hospital and needed major surgery. Every morning, before going to services, my husband would visit at her bedside, tell her stories to cheer her up, and then would call her parents to let them know that all was well. And this very same kindness was extended not only to Yaffa but to all those who were sick and hurting.
As for all rabbis, the High Holidays were an especially taxing season for my husband. He would return from synagogue exhausted, but he didn't permit himself to rest until he had visited every sick congregant so that they might hear the sound of the shofar. Remarkably, despite the overwhelming holiday turnout, he always knew who was missing from the services.
There are some people who extend kindness and consideration to strangers but for some reason fail to understand that acts of kindness must be offered to the members of one's family as well. My husband was the perfect father and grandfather. When the children were babies and would awaken in the middle of the night, he would say to me, "The reason why babies cry at night is so that their fathers should get up and learn Torah." With that, he would pick up the baby, put him or her in the carriage, and with one hand rock the baby back to sleep while with the other he turned thepages of the Talmud.
He was there to tell them stories and to show them how to draw and paint. He taught them the word of G-d, showed them the wonders of nature and made them marvel at the beautiful world that G-d created. When they started school, he was right there with them so that he might ease their way on that first traumatic day.
He would take the children to a pond near our house to feed the ducks. Years later, he did the same for our grandchildren. On the day of my husband's funeral, something incredible happened--the ducks crossed the road and stood at attention as the large procession, which included the Nassau County Police, passed. The police department came out in full force since my husband was their beloved chaplain. This was a sight that I had never seen in my thirty-two years of residence in the community.
My husband's pockets were always well stocked with candy so that whenever and wherever he met children, he would have something to offer them. He had infinite patience with every child, whether his own or those of a stranger. During the shiva period after his passing (the seven days of mourning for the passing of a spouse or blood relative), a little girl whose father was disabled cried to me, "The Rabbi helped me with my homework every night. Who will help me now?"
When I close my eyes, I see him with a baby on his big broad shoulders, but truth be told, he didn't only carry babies, he carried all of us, for such is the power of a man who lives a committed life. Even now I can hear his powerful yet gentle voice saying, "Worry? Negative thoughts? You have to banish them from your mind. Put a smile on your face even if there is no reason to smile, and G-dwill give you every reason to smile."


Drawing on the timeless wisdom of the torah.Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis reminds us of the principlesnecessary for living a better and more committed life.Inspirational and deeply moving. This book willtouch your heart like no other.

About the Author

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis was born in Hungary and is descended from a great rabbinic dynasty that traces its lineage back to King David. Founder and president of Hineni, an international out-reach organization with centers in New York and Jerusalem, she writes a weekly column for the Jewish Press, has a weekly television program, lectures extensively, and has been featured in numerous national publications, among them The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, and People. She lives in New York.

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FERN SIDMAN, November 6, 2006 (view all comments by FERN SIDMAN)
As an avid reader of books on Jewish thought and philosophy, I can most assuredly say that this book changed my life and touched my heart like no other book of its genre. Rebbetzen Esther Jungreis is a master teacher, a true gift from G-d and treasure in our generation. A woman who walks with the Almighty. Her genuine warmth and love for every Jew is palpable and can be felt on every page of this magnum opus on Jewish thought.

As a child survivor of Bergen Belsen, she lost her beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in the fiery furnace known as the Auschwitz death camp. Despite this most devastating loss, her own personal flame was never extinguished during those dark days of living hell. Through the deep love and inspiration of her beloved parents and holy grandparents, she resolved to live her life in the quest to fulfill the Torah obligation of "Tikkum Olam", healing the world. Her raison d'etre became to reach out to every Jew with love, compassion and kindness, to emulate all of G-d's attributes and to educate all of humanity to the greatness of our Creator.

Her journey has taken her to the four corners of the globe, as she touches the hearts and souls of all she meets. It is safe to say, that after reading and hearing Rebbetzen Jungreis' message your life will never be the same. This book is a profound and inspiring compendium of personal stories that will move the reader to tears and will bring to the surface emotions that were either long buried or that we never knew existed.

After reading "The Committed Life" one can begin to understand that our role on this earth is to glorify G-d's name and to become closer to His holy Torah, while developing an understanding and appreciation of G-d's commandments. We begin to understand the enormous power of prayer, of communication with G-d as a way to achieve closeness and solace during trying times and even in good times. We begin to understand that each and every day is a gift from G-d and that we should wake up in the morning with a lionlike resolve to serve our Creator. We learn how to deal with the vicissitudes of life, and how to confront the multitude of challenges that life presents for us, both on a personal and communal strata. The words, Koomoo L'Avodas HaBoreh (I awake to serve the Creator) should become our mantra. We begin to understand that through learning Torah, over time our lives begin to change, and as we become inculcated with Torah values our actions and behaviors reflect this great wisdom. We begin to understand that all the material wealth that we spend our time amassing in this world means nothing in the whole scheme of things. The Rebbetzen emphasizes that only through learning Torah will we have acquired great wealth and our learning and dedication to Torah will ultimately be our inheritance to future generations and through which G-d will judge us when we are called by Him.

It is clear that Rebbetzen Jungreis' thorough knowledge of Torah places her in the category of generations of great Torah scholars. Her book is replete with quotes from the Torah and Talmud as she expounds on them in such intricate detail. The stories that she relays of her family and of those she has met and counseled resound with the wisdom of Torah and the love that she has for all people.

While it would be a very difficult decision for me to make regarding which story touched me the most, I must say that my tears flowed freely upon reading the story of her last visit with her grandfather prior to his deportation to Auschwitz. Without going in to the details of the story, it was the defining moment in her life, when she realized that her ancestors had cleared a path for her and we have that same obligation to our future generations.

This most important book is a powerful read, surely a welcome addition to any home, school or public library. This book is not only a highly significant historical and religious contribution to the vast compendium of treatises on Jewish thought, but it is one that must be referred to again and again on a personal level.

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Product Details

Jungreis, Rebbetzin Esther
by Esther Jungreis
Jungreis, EGUAGE: eng
Jungreis, Rebbetzin Esther
and will put her own life on the line. </p
New York :
Judaism - General
Jewish way of life
Judaism - Sacred Writings
Ethics, jewish
Judaism - Rituals & Practice
Inspirational - General
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9 x 6 x 1.13 in 17.84 oz

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Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Religion » Judaism » General
Religion » Judaism » Rituals and Practice
Religion » Judaism » Sacred Writings
Religion » Judaism » Thought and Culture
Religion » Western Religions » Inspirational

The Committed Life: Principles for Good Living from Our Timeless Past Used Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages HarperSanFrancisco - English 9780060930851 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Drawing on the timeless wisdom of the torah.Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis reminds us of the principlesnecessary for living a better and more committed life.Inspirational and deeply moving. This book willtouch your heart like no other.
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