Thursday, March 7, 2013


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshios Vayekhel-Pekudei/Hachodesh
26 Adar 5773/March 8, 2013

How many Dani Staums does it take to change a light bulb?
Although I have been blessed with certain talents and capabilities, construction and home improvement are not on that list. In that regard, the good Lord has endowed me with two left hands. While I have some friends who absolutely love stores like Home Depot and Lowes, I have anxiety attacks when I have to go into one of those stores. I have a tool box at home that I received as a housewarming gift from a friend, but I am not really sure what to do with it (a wrench is a decent paperweight).
I also have a very hard time picturing things. When we were looking at houses a few years ago, and even now whenever we are doing any home improvement which requires some imagination of what the finished product will look like, I have a very hard time. I just can’t picture things that don’t yet exist.
It becomes a point of frustration whenever Chani excitedly tells me about her plans for something and I have the look on my face of a third grader sitting in a college level calculus class. Still, I do my best to try to pay attention (sometimes).
For example, iy’h in the near future we plan to redo our kitchen. I try to listen to the plans and picture what it will look like. I must admit that from my mental images, I have a hard time understanding why we are putting the dishwasher on top of the fridge, or why we are placing the milichig sink next to the fleishig oven, with “plenty of place for storage”. But I just nod my head and try not to interfere.
Even though it’s a challenge, since it’s important to her I try to make it important to me.
The parshios at the end of Chumash Shemos are particularly challenging. It’s not easy to follow the depictions and descriptions of the Mishkan, or its vessels and vestments, from a cursory reading of the verses. Even with the wonderful resources available today, including pictures and interactive CD-ROMs, it’s still a challenge to follow the pesukim.
In a certain sense, investing effort to understand these parshios is a greater testament of our love and loyalty to Hashem, than other parshios which contain intriguing stories, or contemporary lessons.  
Why should I bother to try to understand what the mizbeiach (altar) looked like, how the eiphod (Kohain Gadol’s ‘apron’) looked, or how the kerashim (boards) were placed in the sockets surrounding the Mishkan? Only because it is the House of Hashem, and therefore I make it important to me!
So while I don’t know how many Dani Staums it will take to change a light bulb, I will say this: Don’t try to describe to me where the bulb is that needs changing, or you might just end up with a bulb affixed inside your garbage can.
Home Depot says “you can do it we can help”. I say if you can help why should I do it?

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

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