1) Besides the sefer Michtav M’Eliyahu, which other sefarim can the Rov recommend [for women] to learn?
2) If we learn a sefer such as “Sifsei Chaim” and we come across parts that have to do with Gemara that are only for men, what should we do?
1) Besides the sefer “Michtav M’Eliyahu”, learning any other sefarim will depend on how well one understands these matters.
- One can try learning the sefarim of Rav Chaim Friedlander zt”l, the two volumes of Sifsei Chaim: Middos V’Avodas Hashem.
- If someone is deeper kind of person, he/she can try learning sefer Shiurei Daas of R’ Bloch zt”l [from Telz].
- If one is even deeper than this, he/she can try learning the sefarim of Reb Yeruchem Levovitz zt”l (two volumes of Daas Chochmah U’Mussar, and five volumes of Daas Torah on the parsha).
- It is very recommended to learn Sefer HaMeoros HaGedolim, which contains stories of the baalei mussar since the times of Reb Yisrael Salanter.
- You can also try learning sefer Beis Kelm, which was also produced by Rav Dessler zt”l; it contains the mussar teachings taught in Kelm which he hails from.
2) If you come across any parts in the sefer which you cannot understand, skip those parts. The truth is that sefer Sifsei Chaim was written for yeshiva men, so you will definitely come across parts that are not meant for women to learn. Rav Dessler’s sefer Michtav M’Eliyhau is preferable for women to learn because it is written in easier language. If you find Michtav M’Eliyahu too hard to understand, you can try learning sefer Alei Shur, which is easier to understand. (Volume II of Alei Shur is easier to understand than Volume I).
Editor’s Note: In a more recent drasha to women, the Rav suggested an alternative list of sefarim for women to learn, in order to learn about the inner world (pnimiyus): 1) sefer Nesivos Shalom, written by the Slonimer Rebbe, zt”L 2) the sefarim of the “Nefesh Shimshon” series, written by Rav Shimshon Pincus zt”l. 3) sefer Michtav M’Eliyahu, vol.1