Thursday, March 29, 2012

SHABBOS HAGADOL PARSHAS TZAV 5772

“RABBI’S MUSINGS (& AMUSINGS)

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Tzav/Hagadol

8 Nissan 5772/March 30, 2012

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One of our generation’s greatest problems is that we don’t live in the present. Our minds are so fragmented and we are in so many places at once that we can hardly focus on what we are doing. The Chovas Halvovos relates that a saintly man would pray המקום יציני מפזור הנפש"- The Omnipresent should save me from ‘scatteredness’ of the soul”, better known as fragmentation.

Dr. Ed Hallowell has coined the term ‘email voice’ or EMV to describe the unearthly tone of voice one uses when talking to someone while reading an email or doing work on the computer. How often do we talk to the people we love and cherish with EMV.

Last week, Klal Yisroel suffered the loss of one of its greatest leaders, Rabbi Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg zt’l. He taught Torah for over 85 years, and until his passing at 101, he was still teaching and inspiring.

I had the opportunity to hear him speak a few times. His message was virtually always the same. He would relate that he was raised on the Lower East Side, where he played ball with his friends. In fact, they would call him ‘Lefty Scheinberg’. But he gave it all up to devote himself to learn Torah and serve Hashem as much as he was able. Rav Scheinberg would then repeat one word over and over: “Time! Time! Time!” He would then emphasize that it’s the greatest gift we have, and we have to know how to use it wisely.

We have forgotten how to live in the moment, to appreciate what we are doing, and to truly experience what we are involved in.

Before our wedding, someone suggested to us that in the middle of the wedding we stop and take a moment to contemplate where we were and what we were doing. We were able to do so and it was one of the greatest memories I have of the night. For two minutes, we selfishly made all well-wishers wait, ignored the urgings of the photographer and caterer, and marveled about the fact that we were at our wedding!

Too often we only think about experiences after they are over.

This week, Eva Sandler, the widow who lost her husband and two children r’l in the horrific massacre in France, was interviewed. She noted that the evening before the shooting she had commented to her husband that she had not said Shema Yisroel with her children before putting them to bed. She was always particular to do so but the previous few days had been hectic and she had not had the chance. She resolved to make sure to get back on track the following evening.

Mrs. Sandler then requested that every parent make sure to spend those few precious moments each night with their children. Parents are busy with so many things – phone calls, emails, appointments, and sometimes they are just tired after a long day. “But” she said “put it all aside for your spouse and your children.”

The Seder is one of the most sublime spiritual experiences of the year. We should make sure to live in the moment – to appreciate the plethora of blessings that we are blessed with around (and on) our Seder table.

A slave has no control over his time, nor does he have the ability to exercise his own choices. Redemption is the ability to choose and to take advantage. It’s the ability to regain our here.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum


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