Thursday, June 14, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Shelach Pirkei Avos, perek 3
25 Sivan 5772/June 15, 2012

Mitch Albom is a best-selling author, journalist, and broadcaster. His books have sold 30 million copies worldwide. His breakthrough book ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ propelled him into stardom, remaining on the New York Times Bestseller list for 205 weeks, and selling 14 million copies.
Albom had heard about an interview with a sociology professor named Morrie Schwartz that had aired on The Today Show, in which Morrie spoke about living with ALS, a terminal disease he knew was killing him.
Albom had been a student of Morrie during his years at Brandeis University and had been close with him. When Albom heard about the interview and about Morrie’s situation he felt guilty for not having stayed in touch. He decided to rekindle their connection, and he began to visit Morrie every Tuesday. In 1997, Albom published ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ in which he documented many of the poignant conversations they had about life and death.  
Almost any adult will agree that life seems to pass so quickly. Parents will agree even more. ‘It seems like it was just yesterday that…’ is a common refrain. But our daily schedules are so demanding and tiring that we just don’t know how to slow down the whirring daily merry-go-round.
I once asked Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman how he has time for his own family. Rabbi Finkelman, who I consider one of my foremost rabbeim and mentors in life, is not only the Mashgiach of Ohr HaChaim in Queens, but his sagacious advice is sought out constantly by myriads of people daily, and well into the night. He is invited to the weddings and simchos of students and friends on a nightly basis, and also gives many different lectures throughout the week.
Rabbi Finkelman replied that when it comes to one’s children quality is more important than quantity. He said that he makes sure to set aside a certain chunk of time with each of his children periodically. During that time, there is nothing else except for the child who is with him.
Many parents spend much more physical time with their children but, because their attention is so diversified, the child hardly gains from the experience.
During the last few months in our family we have established ‘Tuesday’s with Abba’. Each Tuesday I have breakfast with one of our children. During that time, it’s just me and the child. They choose the menu, we eat and schmooze, and then I drive them to school. It’s been a wonderful experience, and something each of them look forward to. When I went to eat with Avi, our four year old, for the first time, and I asked him about school, he shrugged, gave me a sly smile and said ‘I’m not telling’, and continued to eat in silence. I felt a bit funny but he was very happy with that. 
We can’t slow life down. But we can do our best to create memories and enjoy the experience.
Of course there is also the benefit that I have learned many important things about our children and about what’s going on in their lives. Most importantly, I learned that Shalom absolutely abhors when they put vegetables on his Hobo!  

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