I was intimidated and concerned. I had never taught Sefer Yonah (the book of Jonah) and the Torah Academy of Bergen County had assigned me four sections of Sefer Yonah. I worried and fretted as I looked ahead. However, as I began to immerse myself in Sefer Yonah and its many and varied Mefarshim (commentaries) it dawned on me that Sefer Yonah is a Sefer like no other in its potential for rich discussion and insight.
The four different groups at Torah Academy eagerly embraced Sefer Yonah and shared their thoughts and reflections on the very fundamental issues raised in this magnificent Sefer. I thank this group of nearly one hundred Orthodox teenagers for the electrifying learning experience and the many outstanding questions and answers shared.
The learning was so special we decided that we wanted to share this experience with the broader community. I thank my son (and Torah Academy Talmid - student) Binyamin who, in the midst of his learning at Yeshivat Shaalvim in Israel, partnered with me in creating a work which helps reveal deep insights of Sefer Yonah and its profound connection to Yom Kippur. Binyamin brilliantly recommended including Torah Academy alumnus Aryeh Krischer in our project to edit and enhance our work. Aryeh has exceeded our expectations in smoothing out the language and contributing important questions and insights.
I thank Rav Yosef Adler, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Academy and Rav of Congregation Rinat Yisrael for his constant encouragement and specific support for the publication of this work. Torah Academy’s administrators Rav Asher Yablok, Mr. Arthur Poleyeff and Rav Ezra Wiener are also due a debt of gratitude for their kindness and support.
The breakfast table in the Torah Academy faculty lounge is a treasure of our Yeshiva. I can always rely on a significant discussion amongst the Rebbeim concerning the issues in Sefer Yonah which yields invaluable and enriching insights. I thank my wonderful colleagues for providing such a spiritually nourishing environment.
I thank Hashem for the privilege of serving as the Rav of Congreagtion of Shaarei Orah, the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck. The breaks during the Yom Kippur Tefilah in which we delve deeply into Sefer Yonah are among my sweetest memories. May Hashem continue to send us many more years of beautiful Shabbatot and Yamim Tovim together. Special thank you to Heidi and Jack Varon for enabling this wonderful Kehillah.
I thank my wife Malca and children Bracha and Yisroel Meir, Binyamin, Chaya Zipporah, Atara, and Hillel for providing a loving and happy environment in our house. My, Baruch Hashem, many Sefarim and articles easily flow due to the joyful environment in our home. The accolade Rabi Akiva bestowed upon his family “Sheli VeShelachem Shelah Hi,” “my learning and your learning is all due to her”, applies at least in equal measure to my family.
May this work serve LeIlui Nishmat, to elevate the souls of my parents Ben and Shirley Jachter a”h. Although they never had the opportunity to know their daughter-in-law Malca and grandchildren, I am certain that they would have been enormously pleased with their high quality character.
May this work serve as a merit for my ailing father-in-law Rav Shmuel Tokayer and a source of comfort and support to my dedicated mother-in-law Mrs. Chana Tokayer. May Hashem extend them both great support and kindness.
Most of all, I thank Hashem for fulfilling my dreams to be blessed with a loving spouse and children, and to spend a life immersed in Kedushah, holy projects. As a young man I dreamed of teaching Torah to teenagers and leading a friendly and warm Kehillah (congregation). Thank you Hashem for transforming these aspirations into reality. Thank you Hashem for facilitating such a large and loyal readership, way beyond any dreams I harbored. “Mah Ashiv LaHashem Kol Tamolehi Alai”, I am overwhelmed with the enormous gratitude to which I owe our Creator (Tehillim 116:12). May it be His Will to continue bestowing all these blessings for many decades to come.