Let me state at the outset – the author of the book I am about to review is my daughter in law Mrs. Genendel Krohn of Waterbury, Conn. You may ask, how can this review be objective? Good question; but I believe there is a good answer. Over the last twenty five years that I have been writing stories for the Maggid Series of books I think I can detail the ingredients of a good story and gauge its potential value.
A good story moves people, is captivating, memorable, and can be heard or read more than once. The stories in Sparks of Majesty, meet these criteria.
My daughter-in-law has been a teacher and mechaneches for more than twenty years in seminaries, high schools and elementary schools in in Israel and America. Throughout her career she has collected inspirational stories that would elevate her students. This book is thus the accumulation of more than twenty years of research.
The episode with Rav Yechiel Perr, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva of Far Rockaway, (p. 87), with the care and love he displayed for a talmid, would make any parent want their son to be under his guidance. Interestingly a talmid of Rav Perr mentioned in that story, Rav Daniel Kalish, is today the beloved principal of the Ateres Shmuel High School in Waterbury. The boys flock to him as they did to his rebbey, Rabbi Perr, years earlier.
The hair-raising story of Rav Chaim Havlin (p. 133), who found himself stuck in an Arab village in Israel, is filled with suspense, trepidation and redemption. One can easily see this as a school or camp play. You will be fascinated by the unimaginable hashgacha pratis which resulted in Rav Yisroel Belsky’s life being saved (p.3). And how did an innocent housekeeper (p. 131) decorate a Jewish home for the December Christian holiday and thereby affect the editorial opinions of a major newspaper, the Detroit Free Press? You will find out. You will be inspired by the honesty and integrity of the late Rabbi Manis Mandel (p. 231),amazed at the cleverness of the Ponovezher Rov, (P. 261),and the wisdom and insights of Rav Elchonon Wasserman, (p. 239).
The stories are written crisply and succinctly. You can read them at the Shabbos table, on the train, the plane, on vacation or to your children and grandchildren at your upcoming Chanukah party. The author has been most diligent in her research to get the facts straight. The book is quite an accomplishment and yes, I am very proud.