Thursday, December 13, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Miketz – 6th day of Chanukah
Rosh Chodesh Teves 5773/December 14, 2012

I love bakeries. I love the rows of pastries, each in their own shape and colors. But most of all I love the smell. When I go to the bakery and it’s my turn on line and I am asked what I would like to order, I often reply that I want ‘whatever it is that is making that smell.’
I have to also say that I like when a baker is – I guess the best word I can use is the Yiddish word - ‘zavtig’, loosely translated as ‘pleasantly plump’. I want to see a baker who appreciates what he is selling, and in fact loves it so much that he can’t stop sampling the goods. That’s the best advertising, because it tells me that these pastries are seriously delicious. When a baker is skinny on the other hand, I often think that if he won’t eat his own products maybe I shouldn’t either.
I think most people would agree with my point. You wouldn’t want to use a dentist who had rotted or crooked teeth. Nor would you use a doctor who chain smokes, drinks, or abuses drugs.
Before our wedding, when we were looking to hire a band, my father suggested a certain musician. I was surprised that he had wanted to suggest anyone. He explained that he had seen that musician play at other weddings and that he looks like he enjoys what he’s doing. At some weddings a musician may appear bored and uninterested while playing, and it is clear that he is only doing it for the money. My father was insistent that we hire someone who enjoys what he does and smiles occasionally while he plays, because you can feel it in the music.
As Torah-Jews we have a responsibility to not only observe Torah and mitzvos, but to be ambassadors of Torah and mitzvos. Simply by our behavior and conduct we want others to be inspired and to want to join our ranks.
But if we walk around with a scowl on our face and don’t seem to appreciate the greatness of what we are doing everyday, we are not being very effective ambassadors. I have heard people complain that sometimes religious people look too serious. Without a doubt there is a certain seriousness we must maintain while engaged in our spiritual responsibilities. But throughout the rest of our day we have to ensure that we appear pleasant and ebullient, that we enjoy what we do.
When we light the Chanukah candles we are symbolizing ourselves. Our mission in this world is to spread light in an unsatisfied and unmotivated world, which is full of darkness, emptiness, and misery.
That light has to shine and resonate from within us. We have to look like we enjoy what we do, so that everyone is going to want to buy what we are selling.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos/Good Chodesh
Lichtige Chanukah/Chag Orot Samyach,
   R’ Dani and Chani Staum

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