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The King's Special Loaves

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The King's Special Loaves

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The King's Special Loaves
By Yaakov Meir Strauss
Feldheim Publishers, (2009)
ISBN: 978-1-59826-392-3

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - February 11, 2010

The Second Temple (Beis HaMikdash) comes to life in The King's Special Loaves, by Yaakov Meir Strauss. This is the fourth book in the Naftali in the Beis HaMikdash series. The series is being produced by the BeChatzros Beis HaShem Institute, for the purpose of teaching young readers the laws concerning the Beis HaMikdash and the various Divine Services that were carried out there.

This exciting installment in the series is set in the days leading up to the Festival of Shavuos, and the festival day itself. Along the way readers not only get read a fast paced historical novel full of adventure and excitement, but they also learn about the preparation of the lechem ha-panim and shtei ha-lechem, along with the laws of menachos. A variety of other topics are also interwoven in the story, including the mitzvah of aliyah le-regel and the halachos of ma'aser beheimah. In addition, the book is festooned not only with illustrations, but also charts and maps depicting the Beis HaMikdash, its various components, and how many of the offerings were carried out. These maps and charts are referenced to throughout the story so that you 'see' where the events are taking place. As well, source and footnotes are also included.

The story is told primarily from the viewpoint of Naftali, the story's young hero. Along the way he makes friends with Tzaddok, a young Kohen who has just arrived in Yerushalayim from Alexandria, Egypt. Together, they find themselves drawn into a story of intrigue that involves no less than three bakers and two Roman spies! Full of numerous sub-plots and excitement The King's Special Loaves will enthrall not only the children and young adults for whom it was intended, but grown-ups as well!

I don't really want to say anything about the story itself for fear of giving something away - but I'll tell you this. It is a hard book to put down, and so full of interesting bits of information that after you read it for pleasure, you may well find yourself going back and re-reading the book as a study aid! From beginning to end, Strauss did a marvelous job of wrapping a great deal of information within the bounds of a compelling story, so much so you don't even realize just how much you are learning about the Beis HaMikdash until someone asks you a question about it, and you find that you know the answer! If you haven't read the other books in the Naftali in the Beis HaMikdash series already, you're sure to want to after reading The King's Special Loaves.

The other three books in the Naftali in the Beis HaMikdash series are:
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