Thursday, August 1, 2013


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Re’eh
26 Menachem Av 5773/August 2, 2013
Pirkei Avos – perek 6

The rule in the Senior Division of Camp Dora Golding, where yours truly is the Division Head, is that if a camper is late to shacharis he has to make up the time during an activity. We look away if it’s only occasional, but ‘frequent flyers’ have to face the consequences.
One particular boy who had come late more than once was told he would lose time from his activity. He was upset and complained that he didn’t want to miss his entire league game. I replied that he was not going to miss the entire game, only the first few minutes, equivalent to the time he had come late that morning. The precocious twelve year old looked at me with pleading eyes and said, “But Rabbi, those first few minutes at the beginning, they are so critical. That’s the worst part to miss!”
I told him that I couldn’t have said it better myself. “Indeed those first few minutes at the beginning – those beautiful berachos, those first Amen’s, the beginning of Pesukei D’zimrah – they are so critical!”
For many people coming on time to shul for davening is a foreign concept. Old habits are hard to break. It’s just so engrained in them that no matter what time davening is, they come late.
To be fair, some people struggle a lot with davening. They hardly understand what they are saying, and it is hard for them to maintain decorum in shul. But feeling uplifted and enjoying davening can only be attained with toil and effort. Like enjoying Torah study, one can only achieve it only if one wants badly enough to work for it.
What an effect it can have on a person’s day to properly recite the beautiful opening berachos and tefillos in which we than Hashem for the blessings we always take for granted and never stop to appreciate.
This Shabbos we ‘bless’ the month of Elul, and we begin to anticipate the great and awesome days that are rapidly approaching. Mesillas Yesharim says not only must we take stock of our actions to see whether they are good or bad, but also to make the good even better.
The beginning of a new year is imminent, and the beginning is the worst part to miss.

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

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