Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Behar-Bechukosai
23 Iyar 5773/May 3, 2013 – 38th day of the Omer
Pirkei Avos – perek 5

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to accompany my fifth grade Ashar class for a chesed visit to Friedwald Nursing Home. They were quite shocked when the administrator walked in to greet us and their rebbe kissed him on the cheek. What I neglected to tell my students was that the administrator of the Nursing Home is my father.
It’s always good to have ‘connections’. Often it’s more than just a convenience, as good connections can ‘open doors for you’. As the old adage goes “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s true in regards to legal issues, preferential treatment, and being accepted into institutions (including yeshivos). 
Rabbi Moshe Wolfson shlita (Service of the Heart, Artscroll) related a parable about a soldier, who had come from the battlefield, and was walking confidently towards the palace. When he was stopped by the palace guards, the soldier removed an official document from his pocket and handed it to the guard. As soon as the guard saw that the document was an official message from the king’s general to the king, he hurriedly opened the gates and allowed the soldier free passage. The same preferential treatment repeated itself a few times until the soldier stood before the king himself.
Rabbi Wolfson explained that we are like that soldier. We approach the gates of heaven each morning to utter our prayers before our King. But there are many gates guarded by ministering angels who seek to impede our imperfect prayers from ascending. Therefore at the beginning of Pesukei D’zimrah we invoke the name of Dovid Hamelech numerous times. As soon as we utter his name and proclaim that we have come to repeat his messages of love and devotion to his King, the gates of heaven swing open and our prayers are able to proceed.
This beautiful idea helps us appreciate the words we recite in Baruch She’amar, “And with the songs of Dovid, Your servant, we will praise, and we laud, and we will exult You…” Maintaining a mental image of a soldier standing at the gate helps us appreciate the greatness of every word of Tehillim.
We have serious connections. It would be a shame not to use them!

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

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