Emunah with Love and Chicken Soup: Henny Machlis – The Brooklyn-born girl who became a Jerusalem Legend

emunah-love-chicken-soup[COMMUNICATED] How do I put my awe for this woman — and this book — into words? Where do I start, as I discuss Sara Yoheved Rigler’s biography of Brooklyn-born Rebbetzin Henny Machlis? With the unbelievable Machlis Shabboses, where every Jew was welcomed with acceptance, love — and food? With the miracles that were an almost daily presence in Henny Machlis’s home and life (how do you fit 180 people into an ordinary Yerushalayim dining room every Shabbos?)? How Henny, with her rock-solid emunah, was never surprised when Hashem came through — because she knew, really knew, He would?

And, I discovered when I read (and reread — this book is honestly addictive) Emunah With Love and Chicken Soup, there was much more to Henny’s greatness than the legendary Shabbos hospitality that led many to call her the “Sarah Imeinu of our time.” There was her genuine love for every Jew — including those most of us would keep at a distance. There was her wisdom in raising her children to become exemplary in middos and devotion to Torah. There was her power of tefillah: how did a mother of fourteen (bli ayin hara),  who fed literally hundreds of people, find the time to daven slowly three times a day, in addition to her hours of Tehillim and “informal” talks to Hashem? There was her drive to make shidduchim, leading people to the chuppah with her love and faith in them. There was her power of happiness, despite challenges that would leave most people paralyzed by anxiety.

A unique woman deserves a unique book — and Sara Yoheved Rigler, best known for her classic Holy Woman, who was also a friend of Henny’s, has given us just that. Mrs. Rigler is one of the most gifted writers in today’s Jewish world and her narrative simply soars. In addition, Mrs. Rigler includes hundreds of first-person stories from Henny’s family, friends, neighbors, and students. You can’t understand Henny Machlis without understanding the Torah that was the foundation of her existence; “Henny’s Torah Teachings” round out the portrait of one of our generation’s most inspiring women. Mrs. Rigler also includes first-person accounts of how people made changes in their own lives because of Henny’s example, as well as “Raising the Bar,” a section with ideas on how to use Henny’s example to enrich and improve our own lives.

Like Henny, and the entire Machlis family, this is a book that gives, and gives, and gives.

(Exclusive TLS special: You can pick up this book at Judaica Plaza Thursday and Friday 12/16 for only $17.99 (List $27.99)!

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