Artscroll Mesorah Publications, 2016
I have long admired Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi. She teaches Torah with passion and she shares and develops insights that speak directly to her audience. Her Torah is not theoretical, not pilpul. Instead, it is Torat Chessed, a Torah that is deeply connected to life, home and family.
As Rabbanit Mizrachi explains, the Torah that she shares is ‘Torat Imecha – the Torah of Women’, and in her Introduction to ‘Yemima Mizrachi Speaks’, she notes – basing herself on the writings of the Aish Kodesh (the Piacenza Rebbe) – that in contrast to Torat Avicha which represents a connection to Torah rooted in duty, Torat Imecha expresses a connection to Torah rooted in love. And as she continues, this is so very needed today:
“Do you think that all of the children who’ve left the Torah did so because the Torah was too small, because the Internet and the secular world are bigger? No. They left because they felt too small…. This is the reason, dear women, that the ultimate tefillah of a mother is vezakeini legadeil. Please, Hashem, we beg at the Shabbos candles, give me the capacity to make them feel big, to uproot the disease of this generation, this feeling of littleness, so they can feel worthy of observing the Holy Torah.”
In Yemima Mizrachi Speaks you will find a collection of Rabbanit Mizrachi’s thoughts on the parsha, and in each of the 54 essays the reader is introduced to thought-provoking ideas that emerge from the parsha and that can be applied to their lives.
For example, with reference to Parshat Beshalach which describes how Miriam led the women in song after the crossing of the Reed Sea, Rabbanit Mizrachi observes how ‘a house in which the woman doesn’t sing in joy doesn’t have the capacity to draw salvation’ and then proceeds to explain how we should respond to challenges and frustrations, basing her ideas on the story of the Jewish people’s journey in the wilderness.
Whether or not you agree with all of Rabbanit Mizrachi’s parenting suggestions, this book is stimulating and unlike all other English-language books on the parsha and Shiffy Friedman should be congratulated for her wonderful work in adapting Rabbanit Mizrachi’s ideas to suit the English-language reader.
This is most certainly a book aimed at women, but it also most certainly contains wise and rich Torah ideas that can be enjoyed by all. I hope you enjoy it too!