Thursday, October 28, 2010


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Chayei Sarah

22 Cheshvan 5771/October 29, 2010

It is with utmost gratitude to Hashem Yisborach that we announce and celebrate the birth of our daughter this past Monday, 17 Cheshvan 5771.

When we were discussing the baby with our children a few weeks ago, our five year old daughter Aviva Rochel – paraphrasing the well known refrain with an addition of her own - declared that, “it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s a healthy girl!”

More recently when we asked our three year old son Avi what he would do when he sees the baby he emphatically announced that he was going to give it a potch. When we asked him why he explained, “Because it kicks Mommy.”

The gemara relates that during the months before a soul descends into the world an angel teaches it the entire Torah. Then, just before it is born, the angel taps the baby on its lip causing it to forget all it learned. When we arrived in the hospital prior to the birth of each of our children I told Chani that in heaven they were reciting the hadran (the declaration recited at the completion of a tractate of gemara or an Order of mishnayos) at the celestial seudas pereidah (farewell meal ) for our soon-to-be-born child.

This past Monday morning we drove through a dense fog and arrived in the hospital at about 6 A.M. The baby was born at 8:41 A.M. However, as we did not know in advance how long the delivery would take, I felt that I should daven shacharis in the hospital.

I left the room where Chani was hooked up to the monitors recording her and the baby’s heartbeat and the intravenous. I went to a secluded corner and donned my tallis and tefillin.

Standing there clad in my “prayer uniform” it struck me. In our daily lives we are exposed to many spiritual poisons. I too was “hooked up”, receiving an injection through an intravenous, i.e. a spiritual injection through a spiritual intravenous. Each morning we connect ourselves to receive a spiritual anti-biotic to ward off those pernicious forces, as we monitor our spiritual heart rate.

In our technologically advanced world we busy ourselves with many electronic devices including phones, bluetooths, blackberries, cameras, and laptops. All those devices have a limited amount of available energy, and need to be charged periodically. So every night we connect our contraptions to long black cords that plug into the wall. Metaphorically every morning we connect our soul to “black cords” that plug us in to our spiritual source to bolster our spirit.

As a side point, when going to the hospital it’s a good idea to remember to take those black cords so that phones, cameras, and laptops don’t die during the day. I learned that lesson this week…

[Interestingly enough, in the October 2002 edition of Journal of Chinese Medicine there was an article entitled “Tefillin: An ancient acupuncture point prescription for mental clarity.” The article makes the case that the parts of the body on which the tefillin rest creates an outline much like an acupuncture pattern that would enhance mental clarity. The article adds that it is surprising that such a pattern can be found in a non-Chinese procedure dating back thousands of years.]

As we thank G-d for the past blessings and kindness He has bestowed upon us, we pray that He continue to shower us with blessings and help our newborn daughter - and her siblings - always feel connected to her true source.

May we always share Simchos!

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum