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Holy Woman: The Road to Greatness of Rebbetzin Chaya Sara Kramer [Hardcover]

Sara Yoheved Rigler


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Mesorah Publications, Limited (May 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422600475
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422600474
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 16.1 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #608,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sustainers of the world Feb. 10 2008
By Kerry Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A friend of mine who teaches Jewish studies, knowing my interest in hasidic spirituality, recommended Sara Rigler's Holy Woman to me. It's a fascinating portrait not only of the tzaddikah to whom the title refers, Chaya Sara Kramer, but also of her husband, Yaakov Moshe Kramer, whom many believe to have been one of the lamed-vav tzaddikim, one of the 36 undivulged holy men whose merit sustains the world.

Chaya Sara, born in Carpathia, survived Auschwitz (alone of her family) and migrated to Israel in 1946. There she met and married Yaakov Moshe and settled in a small farming community. Their lives were devoted to acts of devotion and chesed (loving-kindness, the chief characteristic of God). Living in voluntary poverty (which shocked many of their visitors), they gave unstintingly of money and time. Having no children of their own, they opened their home to a number of severely mentally and handicapped children, raising them with love and dedication. (In reading Rigler's account of their devotion to children that the world rejects, one's reminded of Jean Vanier's L'Arche communities.) Worried about diminished opportunity for children of once-hasidic families to benefit from an orthodox education, Yaakov Moshe dedicated years of his life to raising tuition money for indigent Jewish kids. In all these acts of charity, Yaakov Moshe tried to encourage "mutual givers": getting together people who could give financial help with needy people who could give prayers and blessings in turn.

One of the most fascinating points in the book is the story of Avramele, the retarded lad that the Kramer's raised from a toddler, and who was still living with Chaya Sara at her death. Chaya Sara and Yaakov Moshe considered Avramele a tzaddik in his own right, even though he had the intellect of a 5 year old. (In the Christian tradition, Avramele might be called a "holy fool.") For them, caring for Avramele was not only a loving joy. It was also an honor.

Rigler's writing is fresh and engaging. She makes me very much wish I could've met Chaya Sara and Yaakov Moshe, and that I could've received their blessing. In only one way is the book a bit flawed. Rigler violates her own principle, stated early on, that saints are exemplary: merely observing their behavior is a spiritual tonic for the rest of us. Instead of letting her wonderful stories about the Kramers speak for themselves and letting us observe them through her descriptions, however, she breaks the narrative flow with "signpost" interruptions in which she offers spiritual reflections. In all honesty, I began to find the signposts intrusive, and stopped reading them after awhile. Aside from this, though, the book is highly recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book You'll Read More Than Once Oct. 3 2008
By H. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I don't believe I've ever been as moved by a book as I have by Holy Woman. The compassion ~ the chesed ~ that Chaya Sarah Kramer and her husband Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Kramer showed to every person they met is almost beyond description. Yet Sara Yoheved Rigler does a wonderful job of sharing their story ~ their strength, their struggles, their complete selflessness.

There's not one negative thing I could think of to say about this book. I have read it three times, as well as bought copies for several friends.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Blew Me Away July 27 2007
By Lindsay E. Holeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm not finished with it yet but I'm enjoying this book thoroughly. I feel like I'm learning a lot through the good deeds of this amazing woman. I often wonder at her outlook on life and how she decided on it. Especially after everything she lived through (i.e. Holocaust and watching her sister's murder at a death camp, among so many other things). The reason is that she gives Hakadosh Baruch Hu complete and total credit for everything. Sarah Rigler is an amazing writer and I'm already looking forward to reading her next book, "Lights from Jerusalem."
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational! Sept. 26 2009
By wendyronna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whenever you think that your life is challenging or difficult, read a little of this book. What a special woman she was, and how amazing that her belief system stayed intact throughout her many trials and tribulations. And yet she remained joyful and positive, always helping others. Beautifully written as well!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Live Life Sept. 14 2009
By Inspire Me - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Do you want to know how you should live life? This book will show you by the real-life example of a remarkable husband and wife. People are capable of achieving extraordinarily high levels of kindness and compassion, and we can all aspire to emulate Rebbetzin Chaya Sara and Rav Yaakov Moshe Kramer.

I was in tears by the last paragraph. Rebbetzin Chaya Sara spent her life giving blessings to others. At the end of her life, although incapacitated and dependent, unable to even move, she was nevertheless able to bless. This is the real lesson. No matter what our state of being may be, we have the power to choose to have our lives be for a blessing.

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