June 21, 2024
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The Journey Toward Joyful Living

Reviewing: “Is It Ever Enough?” By Sarah Pachter. Feldheim Publishers. 2022. English. Hardcover. 369 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1680255195.

“Is It Ever Enough?” by Sarah Pachter answers a question that every human asks in one form or another: How can I be happy?

The book reads like an intense conversation with a wise and dear friend. Right at the opening, Pachter shares her struggle with her own need for “perfect.” She confides, “How ironic, then, is it for me to write about being satisfied with imperfection, and then agonize over a book title?” Which leads her to: “Here’s the secret: There is no such thing as a perfect title, a perfect book, or a perfect anything.”

True. But this book comes very close.

“Is It Ever Enough?” is a deceptively light read because so much meaning is wrapped in a delightful blend of Torah teachings, guidance from professionals, and stories of celebrities and laypeople. We’re allowed glimpses into Pachter’s kitchen and even into her thoughts, as we contemplate the serious work of “Taking steps towards greatness.” The author’s journey is easy to relate to. We see her at bedtime, when she wants her children to brush their teeth and they want to do anything but. “Every fiber in my body was itching to shout. Instead, I sang.”

I enjoyed the read, but, even more, I appreciated how “user-friendly” the tools are. For example, I plan to visualize my own “anger hat” when my temper flares.

It’s a comprehensive work that covers a wide range of topics including how to thrive with what we’ve been given, and how to connect to Hashem in a way that is authentic and joyous. There are added shots of inspiration for each of the Yomim Tovim, and attention to challenges that Sarah terms “ba’leilos. It is so dark that the solution is happening, yet we can’t see it—even if it is right in front of us.” Throughout this book, we are bolstered by sage advice such as the quote from Rebbetzin Rachel Miller, “Learn how to bear the discomfort of the moment.”

One of my favorite stories, and one that serves well as an analogy for the entirety of this work, is of the day that Pachter took her young children on a tour of Los Angeles. She describes the view from the upper level of the double-decker bus. They passed a construction site and watched in fascination as concrete was poured. It was the same construction site that, in her daily rush, caused irritating traffic clogs. She reminds us, “Sometimes all we need is a new view, and life becomes enchanting again.”

For me, this brave and meaningful book enables that view.

By Devorie Kreiman

 

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