Friday, February 14, 2014


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Ki Sisa
14 Adar 5774/February 14, 2014
(Written for Ashar’s ‘Ashrei News’)

Despite the fact that all of his fellow sixth graders were major sports fans, Eddie didn’t know much about sports. In fact, Eddie didn’t know anything about sports. Eddie was more excited to discuss politics, science, and weather patterns than he was to discuss players and stats. It was quite frustrating for Eddie when he wanted to tell his peers about the polar vortex, and how the freezing cold and all of the snow was a direct result of global warming. He couldn’t figure out why his classmates just weren’t interested. But even more than he loved meteorology, Eddie really loved ecology. He loved animals and plants (fauna and flora, as he called them) and he was always talking about protecting the earth and the animals.
You can only imagine Eddie’s shock this week when, during lunch, he overheard his classmates discussing an environmental anomaly that had occurred. Eddie only heard bits and pieces but he was able to make out the basic story. It seems that 43 sea hawks had swooped down and completely decimated 8 Broncos, while the Broncos were on the run. One kid said that the Broncos had been destroyed. The boys said it was an embarrassment, but Eddie felt like it was a shocking tragedy.
Eddie couldn’t get over the story. How could it have happened? Eddie knew that the sea hawk, known as the Osprey, is a bird of prey which lives near water, which provides it with an adequate food supply. What was most strange was that the sea hawk's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. They surely don’t eat or attack broncos, which are untrained wild horses, and live in completely different terrain than sea hawks.
One of the boys mentioned that when this happened there was a major safety issue with the broncos. Eddie laughed to himself, “Well duh, Copernicus! Obviously there is a serious safety concern if this happened.”
What poor Eddie failed to understand was that his peers weren’t discussing sea hawks and broncos, but rather members of two football teams. All sports players take tremendous pride in their Jerseys, which bear their team name, insignia, and color. Fans spend a lot of money buying sports memorabilia and clothing so they can proudly identify themselves with their team. Seahawks and Broncos are emblems for the players and fans to identify themselves with.
The first half of Parshat Tetzaveh details the formation of the special uniform which the Kohanim and Kohain Gadol wore. We can only imagine how proud the Kohanim were to wear those special clothes during the time of the Bait Hamikdash. We too have special clothes which define us as Torah Jews. Men have a kippah, tzitzit, and tefillin, and women have the laws of tzniut. We should wear our special clothes with shameless pride, proud to espouse that we are part of a special people with a special mission.
On February 17th, America will celebrate President’s Day. The truth is that every Shabbat we have the opportunity to celebrate ‘Hashem Day’. On Shabbat too we should be proud to dress in our special Shabbat clothes, in honor of the sanctity of the day, with fierce pride that we are blessed in being Shabbat observant Jews.   

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

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