Thursday, June 21, 2012



Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Korach Pirkei Avos, perek 4
2 Tamuz 5772/June 23, 2012

“‘It’s bad! It’s bad!’ says the acquirer; but when he leaves then he will praise.” (Mishley 20:14)
  As the school year begins to wind down I have often had the opportunity to accompany some of our students in Bais Hachinuch on their class end-of-the-year outings. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to join our youths in their natural habitat – i.e. outdoors and running around.
So when Rabbi Gradman, our esteemed sixth grade rebbe, asked me if I could join his class trip last week I readily agreed, without yet knowing where we were going. 
On the day before the trip I found out that we were going biking.
“Yeah, you know with pedals, wheels, handlebars…”
“Oooh, I haven’t done that in a while.”
It’s bad! It’s bad!’ says the acquirer.
When we arrived at the park it was raining lightly and the clouds looked menacing.
It’s bad! It’s bad!’ says the acquirer.
One of the boys told me it was a six mile trail. Six miles in the rain; here goes nothing.
It’s bad! It’s bad!’ says the acquirer.
Most of the boys were pedaling with ease, but some boys started to slow down and were having a hard time. “I am getting tired. I can’t do it.”
It’s bad! It’s bad!’ says the acquirer.
Without much recourse, they forged on.
Then I was informed that it wasn’t a circuitous route, and when we got to the end of the trail, we had to bike 6 miles back.
It’s bad! It’s bad!’ says the acquirer.
“I CAN’T! My feet are killing me.”
“Come on. Keep pedaling. Look how far we’ve gone. Don’t give up now!”
The last three miles were truly painful, and I was nervous that some of the boys (and one of their chaperones- who is typing this article) may not make it.
It’s bad! It’s bad!’ says the acquirer.
But then, as the sun began to shine drying our wet and muddied clothing, we crossed the finish line. Twelve miles! We had done it!
“But when he leaves then he will praise”
It was a major challenge. We doubted ourselves but continued on because we felt we had to. And in the end we prevailed. It was a great feeling.
“But when he leaves then he will praise”
I felt that the trip was a microcosm of the school-year. Truthfully, it mirrors any challenges we encounter in trying to accomplish anything. The journey is arduous and frustrating, and sometimes it can be downright painful. Along the way we doubt ourselves as we ponder the bleakness of our situation. But if we can maintain perspective on our goals, and remember that when it’s over we will feel incomparable pride, it can serve as inspiration to forge ahead.
“But when he leaves then he will praise”
Still, I feel compelled to admit that when the biking trip was over and I felt very proud of myself, I did not join the energy-ridden students who then proceeded to play an intense game of tag in the nearby playground.
What happened to good ol’ bowling?

              Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
                R’ Dani and Chani Staum