Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Shushan Purim-Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Ki Sisa

15 Adar 5772/March 9, 2012

This year Chani and I had the opportunity to spend a Shabbos in Miami Beach during the winter (thank you Citi-cards Points Rewards). The weather was pleasant leveling out at 80 degrees from when we arrived early Friday morning, although it was partly to mostly cloudy. It remained that way through Shabbos and Sunday.

We were leaving Monday evening so we were disappointed when we woke up to a steady rain on Monday morning. The forecast was calling for rain all day.

The trip had been relaxing and enjoyable, but we feared that it was for naught. Why? Because we know what everyone looks for when someone comes back from a trip to Florida during the winter. We were already anticipating the comments, “You weren’t in Miami - where’s your tan?” “Where did you really go?”

The tan is like your proof of purchase announcing to everyone ‘while New York is bundled up with its teeth chattering, we were walking around in short sleeves, wiping sweat off our faces.’ But if you come home without a tan, what’s the point of going in the first place?

At that point we nervously began contemplating our options: We could stick our face in a hot oven, we could color our faces with a red marker, or we could walk around for a week with streaks of sun-resistant lotion on our face so everyone would think the lotion blocked the tan. We were getting desperate.

But then in the late morning the heavens hearkened to our plight and the skies parted. Beautiful rays of sunshine beat down upon our thirsting faces. It was amazing that only a few hours walking and enjoying the sun was enough to leave its mark.

When we boarded the plane that evening we didn’t need any markers or ovens. It was clear that we had been down south where the sun was shining.

Indeed the following day back at work in the halls of yeshiva, a young student looked at me and said, “Rabbi Staum, what happened to your face? Are you feeling hot or something? Your face is all red!” It was the nicest thing anyone said to me all day.

Every Shabbos and every Yom Tov carries with it beautiful streaks of spiritual sunshine that infuses us with added spiritual strength, faith, and passion. But in order to enjoy those blessings one has to avail himself to the holiday’s warming rays.

We must celebrate every Shabbos and every holiday in a manner which ensures that we are drawing the chizuk of the day as much as possible. When the sun sets at the conclusion of Shabbos or Yom Tov the effect of the holy day must resonate so much that it is recognizable in our performance of Torah and mitzvos. That lingering vitality is the tan that the sunshine of the holy day leaves upon our countenance.

Our goal is that when the holiday ends it is clear on our faces that we had been spent the last day basking in its spiritual sun. And the more we absorb the longer that tan will last.

Got tan?

Freilichen Purim for all year

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum