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Zayis Ra'anan: The Gift of the Fresh Olive (Multilingual Edition) (Multilingual) Hardcover – June 2, 2011
About the Author
At a festive gathering on the second day of the Succoth holiday, 2009, seventeen year old Sholom B'nayahu Werther related a piece of Talmudic lore to his family. With uncharateristic gusto and passion, he explained how the olive is a metaphor for the destiny of the Jewish people. Thirty hours later the young man's life came to an abrupt end as the result of a hit-and-run accident. Within days, the metaphor of the fresh olive, as well as Sholom's unusual name, became the key to numerous afterdeath messages. Applying the ancient tool of gimatriya that links the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to specific number values, passages in the Tanach (Bible) revealed numerous references to Sholom's life, faith and ultimate destiny. Zayis Ra'anan: The Gift of the Fresh Olive is a riveting account of how those messages unfolded and became a source of consolation, hope and encouragement that will be an eye-opener to any person of faith. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Orthodox Judaism is more than a religion. It is a way of thinking and living so timeless and complete that we secular moderns have trouble comprehending it. Even in twenty-first-century America, Orthodox Jews don't just practice their religion. Instead they live it as a cultural worldview, an exultant realm of ever-deeper learning, a comforting and uplifting daily round of practice and prayer and study. Beginning this book is a bit like starting a piece of exotic fiction, and the fun of that feeling is heightened by our awareness that this complex new world is real.
Young Sholom is like most of those who die in childhood. He is unusually loving, gentle and spiritual, and almost certainly an advanced being who planned his brief life and early death as a loving gift to those around him. He was educated in religious schools, so he and his father could enjoy discussing the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the Talmud (ancient discourses on the Torah). Werther's pride in his son's growing understanding as the boy begins to think like a man is wonderful to see.
Then Sholom is hit by a car and killed during Sukkoth, which is a lighthearted time when the family camps out for a week and feasts and shares thoughts on the ancient texts. In keeping with tradition, the boy is buried quickly and the holiday more or less continues while the family draws strength from its close community. Werther is devastated. Having ten sons left is no consolation! Still, he doesn't rail against or question God, but instead he looks for comfort in the spiritual texts which have shaped his life.
So then the signs start to come. I won't tell you what they are, since unless you have Werther's explanations they are not going to make much sense. But the signs are many and profound, and the odds against chance for so many such signs are so great that they have to be coming from Sholom. We rejoice with Werther in his increasing confidence that his beloved son is fine.
Werther comes to believe that Sholom has safely returned to the Garden of Eden. Can you think of a better way to describe the post-death Summerland that awaits us all?
- Roberta Grimes, author of The Fun of Dying: Find Out What Really Happens Next!