Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayechi
15 Teves 5773/December 28, 2012

Mr. Alex Gold, the indefatigable and devoted director of Camp Dora Golding began his orientation to the campers this past summer by recounting the following personal vignette:
One day I was walking towards my car in Brooklyn, and as I took my car keys out to open the car door the keys slipped out of my hand and fell straight down into a sewer. I was able to see my keys just sitting there, but they were out of reach and there was nothing I could do. It wasn’t like I could just have another key made because the key has a magnetic computer chip inside it and costs $300 to replace.
I was quite frustrated as I called Chaveirim for help. Within a few minutes a representative showed up. He reassured me that this happens all the time and he would be able to retrieve my keys within a minute or two. Sure enough he lowered a powerful magnet attached to a cord, hooked on my keys and handed them back to me.”
Mr. Gold concluded his story in his inimitably witty manner by saying, “Why did I tell you this story? It really has nothing to do with what I want to talk about now. But I got all of your attention, so now I’ll begin.”
In my opinion however, there is a beautiful message contained in this story (aside from the obvious J…)
Rav Avrohom Pam zt’l related that in the shtetles in Europe the impoverished Jews would say that in America there is gold and diamonds in the streets. Rav Pam explained that the statement is indeed true. But it is not something to be proud of. Many of our young men and women have been exposed to the relentless depraved influence of the streets and have been drawn to it. They are the gold and diamonds that are in the streets. Our job is to get them out of there; to reach out to them lovingly, to draw them back to a life of Torah and mitzvos. 
Tragically, many of our children live in the doldrums of spiritual void. The keys to their souls have fallen into the muck of the sewers. But we know that no Jewish soul is ever lost.
In camp there were campers who listened to the music of a particular Jewish singer whose lyrics are not very Jewish, to say the least. When a camper told the camp Mashgiach, Rabbi Mordechai Finkleman, that it was ‘Jewish music’, Rabbi Finkelman replied that the fact that a Jew sins doesn’t mean that we should join him. Rather, we should pray for him when we say the blessing of Hasheveinu (Repentance) in Shemoneh Esrei.
It takes an adroit person who has the expertise, and more importantly the love and devotion, to reach down into the sewer and draw out those keys. But once the keys are in the right hands, there is no limit to how far they can go.

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

720 Union Road • New Hempstead, NY 10977 • (845) 362-2425