Thursday, November 7, 2013

PARSHAS VAYETZEI 5774

“RABBI’S MUSINGS (& AMUSINGS)”
Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayetzei
 5 Kislev 5774/November 8, 2013

The light fixture hanging in our kitchen when we first moved onto 3 Landau Lane was ancient. In fact, I think it was there before Edison discovered the light bulb. The first time one of the bulbs went out I climbed up to see what how much wattage the replacement bulb would need. I quickly realized that the wattage was the least of my concerns. The bulb itself looked like a miniature alien with a helmet on top and two little prongs sticking out, poised to attack. Where was I going to find this type of bulb? After searching in vain in a few stores, I searched on line and was delighted to find that line of bulbs there. By now more of the kitchen bulbs had burnt out, and it was becoming increasingly darker in our kitchen.
ordered a few different sizes of the strange looking bulbs. When they finally arrived I excitedly announced to my family that we would once again be able to see what we were eating for dinner. I plugged the bulbs in and turned the light on. There was a sudden spark and then the room went dark!
The only good thing was that when Hurricane Sandy knocked out our power on Monday evening, October 30, 2012, while we were in the middle of supper, we hardly noticed that we had lost power.
The moral of the story is that light fixtures will only illuminate if the correct type of bulb and wattage are inserted. Anything else and the greatest light fixture in the world will be futile.
Melachim II, Chapter 4, relates the story of the barren Shunamite woman who was promised a child by Elisha Hanavi. Indeed she had a child, but a few years later he suddenly died. When Elisha was informed about what occurred, he rushed to the child’s bedside with his assistant Gechazi.
Gechazi immediately “placed his staff upon him”, but it had no effect upon the lifeless child. Elisha then proceeded towards the child: “He lay upon the boy, placing his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his palms upon his palms. He stretched himself out over him and warmed the flesh of the boy.”
Rav Meir Shapiro zt’l gleaned from this incident timeless insight into educating and reviving the spirit of a wayward child. Gechazi’s method, utilizing a stick and trying to force compliance, will not be effective in reviving a child’s soul. 
Rather, one must utilize the approach of Elisha. Firstly, one must shut the door; close yourself out from everything else. No cell phone or other distractions. Build a connection with the child and demonstrate that you care. “Place your palms upon his palms”, take the child by the hand, hold him and show him that you care about him, “Mouth to Mouth” -  Talk to the child in a way he can understand and relate to, “Eyes on Eyes” – try to view things from the child's perspective!
If one follows this approach, “The flesh of the child will become warm” the child’s spirit will be invigorated and revitalized. 
A light fixture will only give off light if a compatible bulb is inserted into it. The inner light of any person, especially a child, will only shine if a compatible approach is employed.
I’m happy to say that when we redid our kitchen recently we replaced the fixture completely. And we lived happily ever after… until a door handle became loose.

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

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

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