Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Ki Savo Pirkei Avos, perakim 3-4
20 Elul 5772/September 8, 2012

During the break between camp and yeshiva I accompanied Chani to our family pediatrician for our almost two year old daughter Chayala’s appointment. After the doctor finished his examination he asked us if we had received the flu shot yet. Suddenly I felt like a little kid again in the doctor’s office staring at a needle about to receive a shot. But this time not only was my Mommy not there, my daughter wanted to see how well her big and tough Abba would do with the shot.
Thankfully both I and the administering doctor survived, with minimal injury to either of us. The best part of it of course was the Snoopy band-aid I got to cover the wound.
Afterwards I was contemplating what had just occurred. The doctor injected me with a controlled amount of the very disease I don’t want to contract, so that my body would develop and produce antibodies. In other words, he exposed me to the disease so that I could ultimately be protected from it.
That got me thinking of a new way to combat so many annoyances that we deal with. When construction crews build homes they should import a small family of termites. Then the house could develop antibodies and destroy any future termite infestations down the line. I hate to call myself a genius, but this is a revolutionary way to rid ourselves of roaches, mice, and bees. Just bring a few in at the beginning and the house will build up a natural resistance! What’s more, before a family moves in to a new home the workers can ensure that there are some plumbing issues, and a leak or two (they usually do that anyway).
Is it any less of a miracle that our bodies produce antibodies?
To be successful we must push ourselves to face our fears. That is our only hope to ultimately vanquish them. When we cower from things that scare us they become magnified in our minds and the fear intensifies. But when we face our fears with courage and conviction we will usually see that the greatest impediment was the fear itself.
Rav Yeruchom Levovitz zt’l once noted that the difference between a hero and a coward is not that one is fearful while the other doesn’t. Only a fool would not feel some fear when confronted by dangerous and unknown situations. Rather the difference is that the coward recoils and hides from his fears, while the hero is propelled forward and strengthens himself to confront his fears.
The new year affords us an opportunity to begin again and confront things that inhibit our growth. But sometimes we need a shot in the arm to propel us forward. Then, when we see that we can overcome our resistance and premonitions, we’ll be able to realize that the sky’s the limit.

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

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