Friday, November 2, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayera
17 Cheshvan 5773/November 2, 2012

By now Sandy has commandeered most of our conversations. We cannot help but marvel with awe at the ravages of destruction she wrought. With whipping winds in excess of 90 m.p.h. Sandy tore through our area, flooding tunnels, gushing through homes uninhibited, and uprooting trees along with their roots. For a night the bustling city-life was brought to a standstill.
The storm has passed and now we are faced with the momentous task of the great cleanup. Gas lines are monstrous, reminiscent of the oil embargo of the 1970s. We are thankful that we are safe, but for those of us in the dark and cold, we anxiously await the return of our electricity. In Monsey/Spring Valley, our electric is provided by “O & R” (Orange and Rockland), and now all eyes are upon them.
With schools closed all week, for the last few days we drove around the battered streets of Monsey trying to keep our children busy and warm. As we did so we searched for our heroes - the workers of O & R who, we are told, are working around the clock to restore our power. If only we could look upon the lines and see the workers atop their cherry-pickers, it would bolster our confidence in their efforts. But alas, we have not seen any! Not even one! We have seen numerous Verizon and Optimum trucks, the mail was delivered, and our garbage was collected, but no utility workers in sight. Someone told me he saw one utility worker sipping a coffee, and someone else told me he saw a worker rolling out the yellow tape in front of a fallen tree. But no cherry-pickers.
I was informed that the workers have to do ‘internal work’ before they can begin work on the poles, and that is why we haven’t seen them up and about.  
I found the concept intriguing. While I surely believe that introspection is important, and the desire for ‘internal work’ is certainly commendable, I believe their priorities are backwards. Chazal indeed say (Bava Metzia 107b) “Adorn yourself and then adorn others”. However, the Chofetz Chaim taught us that during a time of crisis when all hands are needed on deck, everyone must join the rescue efforts, even one who has not personally achieved that requisite level (See Stam Torah, Lech Lecha 5771).
If the Chofetz Chaim said that regarding spiritual matters, then it surely applies to physical matters as well.
Someone should tell the O & R workers that there will be plenty of time for them to do ‘internal work’ as soon as the aftermath of Sandy is behind us. But until then, they should get out there and get our lights and heat up and running!

A bright and warm –
Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
   R’ Dani and Chani Staum

Please remember that this was written for entertainment and moral value purposes.
We salute all of the herculean efforts – including those of O & R - to return us to normalcy.

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