Rabbi Zamir Cohen – An Interview

He stands at the head of a quiet revolution called “Hidabroot”, and his fascinating lectures are viewed throughout Israel and the world. He functions as a rosh yeshiva and has written books in his non-existent spare time. After captivating the Jewish world with his bestsellers “The Revolution”, “The Code”, and others, he is now giving solutions for a quality life of happiness in his new book “The Keys to Life.”

“An Odyssey to the Truth”, “The Elucidated Song of Songs”, “The Order of Jewish Law”, “Codes in the Bible” and “The Revolution” are only a few of the compositions written by the man whose signature “Zamir Cohen” appears in the introduction of his books. In his characteristic simple, appealing language, he explains and elucidates the wonders of Judaism to anyone thirsty for authentic Jewish knowledge. Books, conferences, discs, a television channel — all means are kosher as long as it helps a Jew understand his unique role and the purpose of his existence.

One could get the impression from his books that the rabbi graduated a faculty of the exact sciences, or at least a faculty of the natural sciences. But the opposite is true: Rabbi Zamir Cohen was born and raised chareidi, learned his entire life in Torah institutions, went to kollel after finishing yeshiva, and was a rosh kollel and rosh yeshiva until he established his television channel. He is apparently the first person in the world who runs a television channel who doesn’t have a television in his own home.

The great thirst in our generation to know the secret of true happiness is what motivated Rabbi Zamir Cohen to enter the media in general and write books in particular. His book “The Revolution”, which discusses the many astonishing areas where Torah and science converge, was translated to several languages, among them English, Farsi, Italian, and French.

The rabbi dedicated almost the entire book of “Codes of the Bible” to the hidden codes in the Torah’s holy letters which convey messages and meanings of people’s names. His new 315-page lavishly illustrated book reveals the Jewish solution to living a satisfying and fulfilling life. “Several chapters in the new book were devoted to the worldwide spiritual search we see today,” Rabbi Zamir says. “I stress the reasons for the commandments, the benefits they bring a person in today’s world, and how they balance material and spiritual needs.”

“Keys to Life” provides formulas for balanced marital life, tips for raising children, advice for physical and mental health, and even the stages of character development. Rabbi Zamir explains that he got the idea to write the book from the many requests he received for answers to specific subjects.

“I held personal discussions almost daily with a wide range of the public, with people of different ages and from different social strata. I discovered the main questions bothering most people,” he says. “That’s when the idea occurred to me to write a book that will give keys for a good life. When a person has a problem, he feels stuck even if he is smart and intelligent. As the sages say, ‘A prisoner cannot release himself from prison.’ The Torah’s guidance is like a key which opens a locked door. A good life and happiness is within

reach, but there is a locked door intervening. The purpose of the book is to give tools to deal with all the main challenges of life.”

The book also addresses those interested in mystical explanations of Jewish practices. “I tried to include the kabbalistic angle of commandments in these chapters,” the rabbi explains. “I wanted to convey that every commandment has an exalted divine dimension which is intended for man’s benefit. Some chapters are devoted to developing one’s character and overcoming anger, phobias, causes preventing one from finding a mate, honoring one’s parents and the elderly, self-respect, etc.”

Q: The book quotes many scientific studies. How does a chareidi like you, who isn’t even connected to the electronic media, get ahold of such updated, contemporary material?

“I don’t spend time surfing randomly for research studies, but once the Torah expressed its view on a certain subject, I try to look for the updated studies in the field. Our lucky generation has seen science advance in huge steps towards the Torah’s views in many areas. The Torah doesn’t need, perish the thought, the vindication of researchers. The researcher tries to discover what the Creator created in His universe, but he certainly doesn’t know better than the Creator Himself, Who created the Torah no less than He created the world. There are many people who weren’t exposed to the Torah’s beauty and truth, and seeing how Torah and science converge really opens their eyes. Sometimes people send me studies if they see a connection between the study subject and Torah. I integrated some of them into this book or others.

“It is said about the Torah ‘Turn it over and turn it over, for everything is in it.’ The fact that it is the Torah of our Creator, means it has the manufacturers’ instructions for all areas of life. Inevitably, one who delves into it, discovers all these areas. For instance, the mishnayot in the Seder of Zeraim devote much space to botany. The tractates of Seder Nezikin  deal with trials and litigation. The Book of Proverbs and Ethics of Our Fathers and many of our sages’ aphorisms deal with the entire range of human psychology, including marital relationships and childraising — and are far more on target than modern psychology. Studying the laws of an ill person on the Sabbath, enriches us with extensive medical knowledge. The ethical classics studied in all yeshivot develop a person’s character and teach him how to defer gratification. Same for the rest.”

Q: What is your next objective?

My next project is to finish “Revolution 2”, G-d willing. Not only will it include amazing information about new scientific findings which first appeared in the Torah, but it also deals extensively with apparent contradictions between Torah and science, such as the age of the world, dinosaurs, etc. It will show that not only is there no contradiction, but the Torah one-upped science and gave clear answers to questions that science still has no answers for. I hope the book will come out this summer.”

Indeed, until “Revolution 2” is out this summer with its fascinating contents, we are all invited to enjoy “Keys to Life” and get a better life by applying the advice and tips carefully selected by Rabbi Zamir Cohen.

10 Keys to Life (randomly collected from “Keys to Life” by Rabbi Zamir Cohen)

1. Laughter shows that everything in the world is futile, and all temporary suffering is imaginary. (from the chapter of “Happiness”)

2. When anger begins to surge in your heart against someone, stop looking at him. (From the chapter of “The Trait of Anger”)

3. According to Chinese medicine, eating kidney beans (which look like a kidney) strengthens the functioning of a healthy person’s kidneys.  

4. A Jew who commingled materials which are extremely different spiritually from each other, will cause a “blown fuse” in upper spiritual worlds and immense spiritual (and inevitably also physical) damage. (from the chapter of “Short Fuse Conflicts Vs. Marital Harmony”)

5. One who honors his wife by complimenting her, and buying her clothes and jewelry… opens for himself gates of blessing, abundance and livelihood. (from the chapter of “The Status of a Woman in Judaism”)

6. Before you respond, think the loss versus the gain! (From the chapter of “Good Advice for Both Spouses”)

7. A bride should repeat to herself morning and evening that a son’s love for his mother and a husband’s love for his wife are two completely different tracks of love. (From the chapter of “Relations between a Bride and a Mother-in-law, and the Son Between Them”)

8. It’s a mistake to think that if I want to give my children the best, I have to give each one a private room with his own furniture for his private use. (From the chapter of “The Blessing of a Large Family”)

9. If you don’t give a child the feeling that he is your partner by explaining and discussing things with him, he will be terribly hurt, and will feel a dangerous chasm exists between himself and his educators. (From the chapter of “The Basics of Education – Educate a Child According to His Way”)

10. Every second a person is engrossed in Torah study, he is illuminating his soul, improving his character traits, and making himself a better person (from the chapter of“Light for the Soul”)

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