Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS
“Bringing Heaven Down to Earth: 365 Meditations of the Rebbe”, a well-known book in communities throughout the world, is sold out in Russian bookstores and showed a whopping 15,000% growth of the page visits on the Lechaim literary magazine’s website, where the excerpt from the book is published. The price rose 22 times, but that didn’t lower the demand: an additional print run of 30,000 copies has been ordered and is expected to be snapped up within a month. The same number of books has been purchased in the past 20 years.
This happened after 23-year-old rapper Alisher Valeev, known as Morganshtern, from the city Ufa, and who is now considered to be the most popular and discussed Russian artist, said in a YouTube interview that the book has dramatically changed his attitude towards life and people, and helped him to overcome a prolonged depression and alcohol addiction. He noted that the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berel Lazar, gave him the book at a synagogue reception.
“I was an utterly selfish person. Didn’t care about anything and anyone. I was only interested in my life,” Morgenshtern shared.
The book has changed everything.
“I read it and was like: ‘This is it!’ This is the secret of a simple happy life. I realized that my mental state depends directly on the people around me. I realized that if I can make people around me happy, then by doing so I can make myself happy. I found thrill in helping people. When you feel that you can change someone’s life, it’s much cooler than winning an award,” summed up the rapper.
Rabbi Boruch Gorin, the head of the public relations department of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia and the editor-in-chief of the Knizhniki publishing house, added: “It is very gratifying if a young man, regardless of his condition, finds that the spiritual book has made him a better person.”
“This is a much more meaningful result than the increase in sales. However, Morgenshtern has a huge audience of young people who listen to him and now there’s no end to the customers. In our bookstore, we see people that we would have never seen before: 18-25 years old Morgenshtern listeners. I am very glad about this.”
The interview of the freestyle rapper with famous Russian comedian Daniil Poperechny has been watched by over four million people.