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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review of “The First Ten Days” by David Morris

The Following review appeared on

Monday, 13 September 2010

Do I Still Take Sugar?

My Rosh Hashana experience this year was greatly enhanced by having Rabbi Yaacov Haber’s latest book at hand, The First Ten Days.

The First Ten Days is a unique and beautiful book.

Pockets sized, with striking graphics – the book is a compact combination of esoteric mysticism, with down-to-earth practical advice.

Based upon the Zohar’s observation that the Ten Days of Repentance parallel the ten mystical sefirot, Rabbi Haber takes the reader through each Sefira/Day. Each Sefira/Day is covered in just four or five pages, including an eminently understandable description of the Sefira, its relationship to the Repentance Process, and a short To Do list for the reader to take immediate action and apply to his/her own life.

Those familiar with leading self-help books, like Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends & Influence People and Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, will particularly appreciate the 10-Step self-help value of Rabbi Haber’s book.

The First Ten Days is also reminiscent of the writings of the late and great Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan who, like Rabbi Haber, succeeded in bringing the depths of mystical Jewish thought within the range and scope of both lay and (otherwise) erudite readers, simultaneously.

The second day of Rosh Hashana (New Year), for example, has the attribute of the sefira Chochmah. Chochmah is explained as being the “first kernel of an idea that enters into the psyche.” Rabbi Haber encourages the reader to re-evaluate his/her chochmah – “re-examine the givens in your life”.

And he continues, by giving examples: “Do you have certain assumptions about yourself that have not been tested in the past twelve months?...If you are tone deaf, have you tried to sing lately?...Or that you need to sleep as much as you do? Or that you need sugar in your coffee? Have you checked recently?”

Rabbi Haber takes the reader step-by-step, reaching the climax of Malchut (Majesty) on Yom Kippur itself. “With Malchut the creation of the world became complete”.

On Yom Kippur, Rabbi Haber implores the reader to “let go of the life that we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for you.” In practical terms, “Be self contained. Don’t want something that is not yours. Shed all feelings of jealousy that you have and realize that God has given you all the spiritual, emotional and physical tools that you need.”

And finally, Rav Haber advises the reader to understand the value of tears. “Tears occur when we break through the hard shells of our lives…Today is Yom Kippur – shed a tear!”

In just eighty pages, including stunning illustrations and visually pleasing, clearly presented prose, Rabbi Haber covers the gamut of Jewish mysticism, the meaning behind the 10 Days of Repentance and provides a convenient pocket-sized book to accompany and guide our ideal, yet practical, spiritual growth between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

For those who are technologically up-to-it, Rabbi Haber’s book is available digitally.

For the less wizzy amongst us, please order and pick up your analog/paper copy of The First Ten Days from Rabbi Haber or from Lema’an Achai
Posted by David Morris at 15:50

Posted on 09/14 at 04:01 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Rabbi Yaacov HaberRabbi Haber has been a leading force in Jewish Outreach for the past 25 years. A founding trustee of AJOP, the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals, he was the founder and director of the Torah Center of Buffalo from 1980-1990 while serving as a community rabbi in Buffalo. From Buffalo he and his family traveled to Melbourne, Australia where as a project of Kollel Bais HaTalmud he founded the Australian Institute of Torah, a national outreach and adult education program. He directed that program from 1990-1995, at which time he was sought out as National Director of Jewish Education for the Orthodox Union in the United States where he created the Internationally acclaimed and highly successful "Pardes Project."

In addition to his duties at the OU, in 1996 he replaced Rabbi Berel Wein as the spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Torah in Monsey, NY. In keeping with the position of Congregation Bais Torah in the Monsey community, Rabbi Haber was involved in issues involving the greater Monsey community, and counseled hundreds of individuals in the surrounding area.

Rabbi Yaacov Haber is the founder and driving force behind TorahLab. Through TorahLab, Rabbi Haber is bringing together educational and media specialists to create dynamic learning experiences which will be accessible to adults of all backgrounds and levels. Rabbi Haber has published numerous articles and books and is a sought after international lecturer.

Rabbi Haber and his family are presently living in Ramat Beit Shemesh where he is the Rabbi of Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted at