Friday, March 11, 2011


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayikra

5 Adar II 5771/March 11, 2011

What a winter it’s been! Aside for the extreme cold we have been hit with relentless snowfall. As the holidays of Purim and Pesach approach and we prepare to change our clocks to Daylight Savings Time we anticipate warmer and brighter weather. But before we do I would like to share a ‘winter thought’.

The driveway outside our home has a somewhat steep decline which levels at the bottom. While it’s great for sledding, when it’s covered in ice it can be difficult to even walk up the driveway.

The first winter that we lived here I didn’t know what to expect. One morning in December I walked out of my house onto the icy ground. I got into my car and naively tried to drive up the driveway. I quickly realized that I wasn’t going anywhere. I tried numerous times to slide back down and rapidly accelerate, but other than the tires spinning and a lot of smoke blowing out, I wasn’t accomplishing anything.

Hoping that the ice would melt during the day Chani drove me to yeshiva and I procured a ride home. However, not only did the ice not melt but when a friend came to pick up his son from our house he drove down the driveway and got stuck alongside my lonely car.

At that point we had two choices: We could either close off the driveway for the winter or we could call for outside help. We opted for the latter. We called Chaveirim who arrived a few minutes later with a truck. The volunteer tied a strong rope from his truck to the stuck car. Then while I accelerated gently he pulled my car up the driveway and onto the road.

The next day I went to Home Depot and stocked up on bags of salt. Since then, every winter I make sure that we have a sufficient supply of salt so that we don’t get stuck at the bottom of our driveway. It was so frustrating to see the top of the driveway and know how close it was and yet not being able to get there.

At times we have ambitions and aspirations to utilize our potential and accomplish tremendous things. The road seems open in front of us. But there is one catch - we have to ‘get up the driveway’. The force of inertia takes its slothful toll upon us, and other impediments and challenges arise. Suddenly the road which seemed so close and so vast appears distant and unattainable. Our Sages expressed this in their wisdom when they stated that ‘All beginnings are difficult’.

If we truly want to get to the open road of opportunity we may need an extra boost or pull from a friend or mentor in order to help us traverse the treacherous terrain that impedes us from setting out. Very often if we can get past the initial apprehension or challenge, the rest becomes far easier to accomplish. But how often do we never get to the road because we remain stuck in our driveway!

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum