A Tale of Two Souls
by Shai Har-El
A Single Long Narrative Poem ~ 27 Illustrations and Pictures ~ 58 Pages
Price: $15.00 (paperback)
Publisher: Grants Pass, OR: Homestead Lighthouse Press (2022)
ISBN: 978-1-950475-21-6
To Order: Amazon.com


Shai Har-El’s book is a story by a bereaved grandfather, the author himself, of the tragic stillbirth of his granddaughter, Maayan, whose surviving twin, Eden, is already a young adult. It is a lyrical narrative about discovering purpose in life.

        “It all started in the Garden of Eden,
         a blissful place at the edge of the universe,
         a wonderland oasis and paradise
         planted by the Creator.”

Are we all born with a divine 'mission'? How do we investigate, and where? How do we find purpose and meaning every day through life's surprises and challenges, its advances and reversals? Har-El's artful poetic story navigates these swirling waters and carries us to a safe home to greater understanding and acceptance.


I was struck by the extraordinary timing of Shai Har-El’s new collection. A Tale of Two Souls, arrives at a moment when the world writhes under the iron fist of war in the Middle East. As I read through these beautifully illustrated poems, I became entranced by the journey of protagonists Eden and Maayan. Together, they travel a path reminiscent of my own inner journey toward love, understanding, and reconciliation. This extended narrative poem transcends the present moment, telescoping a universal vision of time and eternity.
–Michael Escoubas, author Monet in Poetry and Paint


Dr. Shai Har-El is a historian, writer, poet, educator, rabbi, activist, and businessman. He was born in Israel, where he spent his formative childhood and young adulthood, and participated in three wars: Six-Day War (1967), War of Attrition (1969-70), and Yom Kippur War (1973). He has been a successful financial professional and business owner since 1981, running his Illinois-based, financial services firm, Har-El Financial Group. Har-El is a founder and president of the nonprofit, global nongovernmental diplomacy organization, Middle East Peace Network (MEPN). This organization uses private diplomacy to build bridges of understanding and reconciliation across the Arab-Israeli and the Jewish-Muslim conflict divides through human interaction, dialogue, education, and facilitation of peacemaking projects. A few of his books and essays are the fruits of his peace advocacy and activism under MEPN.

Har-El’s poetry book, Riding the Waves of Bliss: Seasons of Life Poems (Grants Pass, OR: Homestead Lighthouse Press, 2020) is an insight into the changing seasons of his Life. His recently published Hebrew poetry book Yashar MeHalev: Mivchar Shirei Ahavah (Segol Books: Israel, 2023)–Straight from the Heart: An Anthology of Love Poems–is a poetic story of his intimate life.

He has lived for 40 years in Highland Park, Illinois, with his beloved wife, Rosalie of blessed memory, the central figure in his life for over 50 years. Their three children live in the U.S. and Israel, with eleven grandchildren ranging from fifteen to twenty-seven years old. This book is dedicated to them.


An excerpt drawn from the narrative . . .
by Shai Har-El

When Eden grew up and became a big girl,
she explained to her cousins and friends:
“Everyone is born with a special mission.
But we forget what it is.
So how do we recognize our mission?”

“The little dent in the center above the upper lip,”
she pointed to the vertical groove below her nose,
“is a sign that a heavenly angel pressed on our face
to remind us that we always need to inquire and discover our mission,
so that life on Earth will be lived with a purpose.”

The ultimate goal is living a purposeful and meaningful life.
If your purpose has not yet been fulfilled,
then your life has not been fully lived.
Regardless of your age, you have work to do
So you can be the best you can be.


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