How often do you read a story that makes you laugh out loud or wipe tears from your eyes? It’s rare to find honest writing that is powerful, moving, and inspirational, but words that come from the heart enter the heart. From master storyteller Zalman Velvel comes The King of Shabbos and Other Stories of Return, a collection of eighteen powerful, inspirational stories, each with a common theme—the return to simple Jewish values and spiritual meaning.
As you read Zalman’s tales, you will come to intimately know his characters, some of whom you may recognize from your own life, and some of whom may even remind you of yourself. You will grieve with them in their sorrows, and feel joy as they experience spiritual awakening. And regardless of your age, background, or circumstances, their stories will become a part of you—and your life will be richer for having met them.
Zalman Velvel has been a fulltime real estate investor since 1981. His family owns and operates five mobile home parks, as well as warehouses, offices, duplexes, mini-warehouses, and motels. Zalman holds the coveted CCIM designation, as well as being licensed as a real estate broker, mortgage broker, auctioneer, mobile home dealer, and former real estate appraiser. Zalman is also licensed as a real estate trainer, and has trained more than 5,000 people in real estate investing.
The King of Shabbos
Yussie’s Yom Kippur Prayer
The Rabbi Is Out
I Can’t Say Goodbye Yussie
One Little Menorah
Sounds of Life
A Message From Zayde
Heshy With His Hand Out
The Dark Man on Flight 1225
Honor Thy Mother
Peace in the Home
The Brown Hat
The Modern Passover Seder
The Care and Feeding of a Beard
About the Author
I am a Bal Teshuvah, a B.T.
The Hebrew term Bal Teshuvah means “one who has returned to Judaism.” In some Jewish circles, it is an honor to be a B.T., because the sinner who returns to the fold is revered more than one who never veers from the straight and narrow. The element of choice weighs mightily in their estimation.
In 1993, at the age of forty-five, I was a B.J.T.A., Born Jewish Totally Assimilated. I was the great grandson of an Orthodox rabbi, and I had not been in shul for twenty-five years, nor had I been observing any of the holy days.
Then, one fateful summer day that year, a young Chabad rabbi, F.F.B., Frumme From Birth, walked into my family’s real-estate office. He asked if I could get him a good deal on a building so he could start an Orthodox shul. He had almost no money, but more faith in God than anyone I had ever met.
Fast-forward thirteen years: I am wearing a yarmulke all the time, even in the shower, when I sometimes forget it’s on. I also have a full beard, which still itches occasionally. The list goes on: I am a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, my family gets together almost every Friday night for Shabbos and mayhem, and I try my best not to perform any work from Friday night until Saturday night. And yes, the rabbi got his Orthodox shul, where I look forward to Saturday afternoon farbrengens. There is still a long way to go, but I am returning, slowly and surely, layat, layat.
What happened during those thirteen years? I could try to sum it up while standing on one foot, but it would be better if you read the stories that follow.
All of these stories are rooted in my experience, yet should still be classified as fiction. Some came from when I helped that young Orthodox rabbi build a congregation among assimilated Jews, some are derived from visiting the Hasidic Holy Land in Crown Heights, and some came from living in a dangerous “settlement” in Israel, as a member of Yosi’s hilarious family of Flintstones. They all come from trying to live life with my eyes, mind, and heart open. It is my hope these stories entertain and encourage other B.T.s and F.F.B.s.
Yivorecha Adonai V’yishmirecha.
“May the Lord bless you and watch over you.”