Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Bamidbar
Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5773/May 10, 2013 – 45h day of the Omer
Pirkei Avos – perek 6 – Kinyan Torah

After ‘Frankenstorm Sandy’ the buzz question everyone was asking was “Do you have power yet?” In fact, people still discuss and compare how long their power was out after the storm.
That difficult period is still fresh enough in our minds that anytime a storm is predicted we become fearful of losing power. Still, it came as quite a surprise when two weeks ago on Thursday afternoon, as we were beginning our Shabbos preparations, our electricity suddenly went out. It was a beautiful day outside, and we had no idea what could have precipitated the outage.
Our first instinct was to call the electric company. Their recording began by asking us to determine the nature of the outage, including whether it’s a house issue or an entire area. It was clear that our whole area was down, so I called back.
By then, the answering machine had been changed and began with a recording informing us that they were aware of the situation and that the power would be back on in a few hours (1 a.m.!).
Meshech Chochma (Emor) explains that there is a fundamental difference between the nature of Shabbos and Yom Tov. Shabbos is dedicated to one’s personal connection with Hashem. It is a day of introspection and reflection on one’s own spiritual growth and determining whether he is fulfilling his aspirations and responsibilities, and whether he is living a purposeful life.
Yom Tov however, is dedicated to fostering relationships and camaraderie with one’s fellow Jews. It is a time to build our sense of community as a people. Therefore, in contradistinction to Shabbos, on Yom Tov one is allowed to cook and carry outside, because doing so enables people to rejoice together.
In a certain sense, Shabbos is about making sure that our internal power lines are hooked up to the main sources outside. Throughout the week, men wear tefillin which help them ‘plug in’ to a spiritual outlet, giving them a spiritual boost to carry them through the day. [Women don’t need to wear tefillin because, Chazal explain, they are more naturally ‘plugged in’…] On Shabbos we do not wear tefillin, because on Shabbos we ensure that the very source of our energy is firmly attached to it source. Shabbos is not just about plugging into the outlet, but about ensuring that the entire power box is receiving adequate electrical flow!
Yom Tov is about making sure that everyone is plugged in to our power grid, so that everyone can enjoy and benefit from the electricity together.
When one’s electricity comes back on it’s a great relief. One hopes that his neighbors and family will also get their power back as soon as possible. In the same vein, those who appreciate the incredible gift of Shabbos are not satisfied with their own ‘connection’, but wish they could spread that spiritual electricity to every Jew.
As the great Yom Tov of Shavuos approaches, may we all feel connected to Hashem and to each other.

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

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