The book reveals the life of a Chasidic Jew who was unclean (a sinner) in the eyes of Torah (both Oral Law and Written Law), and by doing his "Charatah" ("Repentance") became a "New Man", a Ba'al T'shuva returning to his roots in G-d, Torah, and Yisroel. By and through the love, devotion, and with the holy outstretched hands of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, OB"M, Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar, Rabbi Moshe C. Horn, and Mr. Matthew J. Ritchie, OB"M; each played a direct role in transforming the Jewish life of the author, fulfilling the ancient Jewish teachings "By saving the life of one Jew and bringing that Jew back to G-d and Torah living, you save the world."
Utilizing the teachings of both the Talmud (Oral Law), the Torah (Written Law), The Bahir and the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), the author shares his heart and soul with the reader in his climb from darkness into light, sharing his pain and suffering as an unclean Jew over two decades of his life, and how now, he strives to be a Lamplighter to the less fortunate while maintaining his ba'al t'shuva position by paying his vows to G-d for his graceful deliverance from enslavement.
Book Reviews and Testimonials
"The sefer (book) was authored by our Anash family member and committed friend, Yitzchak ben Yehuda. He shares with us his spiritual journey during the past thirty years from darkness into light of Torah living under very stressful and oppressing conditions and circumstances. As a ba'al t'shuva, he writes in piyyutim (songs/poems) Chassidic style. Utilizing many Kabbalistic terms of various manifestations within the Tree of Life and its affect upon his Neshamot (soul) and his outlook now on life. In his writings, he transforms the physical into the spiritual as he devotes himself to reveal the sparks of holiness around us, fanning his Chassidic flame of Tiferet (beauty), Hod (splendor), and Chesed (love) woven in Jacob's cord. In reading various piyyutim by Mr. Yehuda over the past several years, he has clear Daat (knowledge) in the methods of Sefer Yetzirah involving its meditative techniques, that many of his piyyutim are awe inspiring and revealing...
"Over the years, I've expressed our appreciation with that of our Mayor, Hon. Shabtay Tzur of Mr. Yehuda's devotion in his warm manner in which he helps our children. I've previously as well thanked him for his meaningful support and commitment to our children whose lives have been chnaged on his return to the place of his beloved mother's (OB'M) birth. We here at Chai see this as Mr. Yehuda's contribution towards a sacred cause, for it is immediately matched by a similar benevolence from G-d to him and us as his Ashkelon family half way around the world. The Torah principle that human initiative acts like an impulse, which calls forth a corresponding impulse from on High. the two tother constituate the complete Shekel ha-Kodesh [Holy Shekel]."
Rabbi Mendel Liberman
"With his unique vision Yehuda uses words to transport us into the heart of Jewish thought, emotions and spirituality. His journey from exodus and self enslavement will leave your mind tingling and your soul intoxicated with joyful insights into Torah living."
"Yitzchak ben Yehuda has been unpublished for years sharing his poetic talent only with selected few. He is a strong poet in Chassidic expression. Now his autobiography reveals clear emotions and zeal of his soul in such songs as "In The Midnight Hour," "Draw Me, My Beloved," and "In Your Hands," which reveal Kabbalistic terms of ascension beyond this world into the upper worlds of spiritual enlightenment. These are daring, profound and exciting examples of a Chassidic soul "on fire" in one's faith, which goes to the heart of the journey within the thirty-two paths of Torah's eternal wisdom."
Dr. Judah Eliezrie
Sinai Educational Institute
(Translated from Yiddish/Hebrew terms in letter February 3, 2004)
"With the guiding hand of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (OB'M), Yehuda drew over two decades his poems and songs from deep within himself, revealing the window into his heart and soul, stirring emotional waters of our Jewish faith with Torah delight... Yehuda's voice in the desert is distinctive in Chassidic style and message. Shema L'Kolee Bemidbar is truly a spiritual force of enlightenment."
Bnos Chabad Seminary
(Translated from German and Yiddish, from letter dated February 10, 2004)
"A beautiful and eloquent statement of the fundamentala principles of Torah Judaism, Chassidic teachings, and one's personal relationship with G-d, Torah, and Israel. Any nonreligious person who reads Shema L'Kolee Bemidbar with an open mind and an open heart will sense and feel Yehuda's determination, passion and faith in his devotion to serve his Redeemer no matter what his circumstances. For his message is powerful, moving and wise."
Jewish Theological Seminary
New York, NY
Shema L'Kolee Bemidbar -- An Inspiring Spiritual/Religious Journey Worth Taking!
Unique, inspiring, challenging, poignant and exuberant, are just of few of the adjectives that enter the reader's mind while wending his or her way through this 45-item collection of related stories, prose and Chassidic songs. Basically autobiographical, author Yitzchak ben Yehuda shares 30 years of religious and spiritual growth with his readers. In his desire to be a "new man," ben Yehuda takes the part of Torah as the ideal vehicle to orchestrate and direct his metamorphosis. It soon becomes apparent that it was to be the light of Torah that was to illuminate and lend succor to his darkened soul.
Wending our way through the book, we are shown the redemptive power of the Torah -- its life-changing, life-improving capabilities. Treating Torah as a form of revelation, the author links its truths to the observance of Passover (exodus to freedom), the giving of the Torah at the foot of Mt. Sinai, and, ultimately, the unbroken chain of Judaic belief as the Jews become G-d's chosen children, bound together as one, from generation to generation.
Ben Yehuda's enthusiasm and zeal as a Ba'al Teshuva (one who has returned) is underscored by his stated commitment to live, act, and carry out the responsibilities of his faith by deriving guidance and wisdom from the Torah. Yitzchak declares his Chassidic roots early on, dedicating the book to the Lubavitcher Rebbe (OBM). Although this is Yitzchak ben Yehuda's first book, it is apparent that the author has much insight to share, along with a message of inspiration to convey to those who are contemplating Torah-study as a spiritual path. It is hoped that this is merely the beginning of a series of welcomed and much-needed religious volumes.
Sid Kleiner, Director
Beth Tikvah, Naples, Florida
"It is the kind of book you pick up to restore and reclaim yourself, the kind to make your own passion, make you cry, inspire you to salve the wounds of our Jewish exile and celebrate like Yehuda, The Journey on the path to the Era of our Final Redemption."
Galina Furtaeva, Civil Engineer