Since my husband and I got married, we have been doing the merge of two homes dance. You know how this goes…
I have a crockpot, you have a crockpot… my crockpot is newer… sell the old.
I have a couch, you have a couch… your couch is nicer… sell mine.
One thing that has been fun is the coming together of our books. Daniel doesn’t have too many in his house (not for lack of having books, rather because most at boxed up at his parents’ house) but I came with two bookshelves PLUS (not counting the work themed books I keep in my office at work).
Now I don’t know how you organize books (I found out the other night that a friend and her husband do it by color… that’s cool) but I do it by subject and author. I have a shelf of “authors I know/am related to,” a shelf of old school books I still love, fiction, non-fiction, theatre… and Judaica. My Judaica shelf is exploding. I love collecting, not only interesting books, but also different types of prayerbooks and Torahs (chumashim), etc.
I was recently gifted with a BEAUTIFUL book of Tehillim (psalms) to review for a friend in New York. He, Rabbi Chaim Miller, is an AMAZING man in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Not only is he warm and welcoming in his home but he is knowledgeable and fascinating. I feel pretty confident recommending any new book he comes out with. Rabbi Miller is part of the brains behind Kol Menachem. Here’s a little about Kol Menachem from their website:
The critically acclaimed Kol Menachem series represents the very best in English judaica. Our books boast finely crafted bindings, award-winning typography and an unparalleled richness of content.
Kol Menachem also believes that the quality of information must be matched by the quality of presentation. The use of stunning graphics, professional fonts, multiple commentaries, background material, diagrams and charts as well as insightful notes ensures a multifaceted and far-reaching learning experience in all our publications.
The exceptional lucidity and intellectual rigor of Kol Menachem’s presentations are thanks to the skilful pen of our chief editor, Rabbi Chaim Miller. Rabbi Miller’s achievement as an international scholar is substantiated by the vast dissemination of his works as well as the acclaim and prestige they have won him amongst his colleagues and in the educational and religious communities in which his works circulate.
The thing about Kol Menachem is, it’s not your grandpa’s siddur. They look beautiful on your bookshelves but they also draw you deeper into the text once you crack it open. Looking for an easy to read, beautiful chumash (Torah)? Check out their version here.
When Rabbi Miller asked me to review his new tehillim, I couldn’t say no. I have a soft spot for tehillim. When I can’t pray, when I can’t find a way to communicate with G!d, I turn to the psalms. Years ago I learned that you “have” a psalm for each year. Many years, I found that “my” psalm was so accurate for what I was going through and what I needed at the time. Here’s how you calculate: take your age (32) add one (making it 33) and that is your psalm for the year. Why? When you turn 32, you are going into your 33 year. Anyway, I love psalms. My issue is that my Hebrew is not good enough yet to read in lashon kodesh (the holy language) so I am always looking for options with a GOOD English translation and one that is easy to follow or pop over to the Hebrew when I can.
Not only does the new Kol Menachem Tehillim have large print Hebrew AND English but it has something I have never seen in a book of psalms before. At the bottom of the page, just like in a chumash, it offers “Classic Questions” and “Toras Menachem.” The Classic Questions offer insights and clarifications just as you would find in a chumash. Points that may seem unclear to an observer are clarified in a familiar place, at the bottom of the page. However, it is the Toras Menachem that is just fascinating. It is based on commentary from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. If you read the forward, you learn that this task was not as easy as it sounds. Yes, the Rebbe (as Rabbi Schneerson is referred to) gave many speeches but he did not spend a lot of time on the psalms. Rabbi Miller and his team spent a long time reviewing the Rebbe’s discourses, sermons, farbrengens, and other times psalms may have been mentioned. Rabbi Miller took the teachings from the Rebbe and shared these insights in a language we can understand.
Like I said earlier, Kol Menachem books are not only interesting and educational but beautiful for your bookshelf. I highly recommend this volume. I know our home is richer for it.
Here is information about this volume of tehillim from Kol Menachem:
Tehillim (Book of Psalms) – The Schottenstein Edition Price: $39.99 The luxurious, hand-crafted Schottenstein Edition Tehillim, represents the very peak of English Judaica. World-class typography by an award-winning designer, with gold and red-wine highlights, makes each page of this classic a rich feast for the eyes. An exceptionally lucid, flowing translation, is adorned with fascinating insights culled from over 200 traditional commentaries. A special feature is the Toras Menachem, inspirational commentaries from the late Lubavitcher Rebbe on Tehillim which have never been published before in English. The hand tooled faux-leather cover and luscious cream paper makes this the ideal gift.
To purchase, either click anywhere in the description above or click here – Kol Menachem Tehillim.
Here are some sample pages –
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review for free.