Thursday, February 6, 2014


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Tetzaveh
7 Adar 5774/February 7, 2014

It’s one of those things you don’t think about much. If ever you’re driving your car and the windshield gets a bit dirty you squirt some of that windshield cleaner stuff, causing the wipers to spurt to life for a moment, and the window instantly becomes clean.
I found out just how important that ‘squirter thingy’ is. Last week, during our prolonged arctic vortex, the morning after one of our many snow storms, I headed out to Brooklyn. Before I even drove onto the highway, my car’s windshield became clouded with a debris mixture of slush, salt, and dirt. I nonchalantly flipped the squirter. The windshield wipers immediately rose to life, but no liquid came out. So then the windshield was covered with smeared debris, and my vision was even worse. To make matters worse, the sun was shining brilliantly, and the glare reflected off of my grime-filled windshield. It may sound somewhat comical now, but it was a very difficult and somewhat dangerous drive then. There were moments when I could hardly see the road in front of me. Every few minutes, I had no choice but to slow down, stick my hand out the window, and pour some of the contents of my water bottle onto the window. It would at least give me a brief period when I could see through the little clear island I had created, and I tried not to think about what the drivers in my vicinity were thinking.
I was surprised that I had used up all of the windshield spray because I had gone for a full service oil change (which includes filling up the windshield fluid) fairly recently. While in Brooklyn I was disappointed that none of the stores I went into had windshield wiper fluid (not in the seforim stores or the pizza shop).
On my way home I stopped at a gas station and purchased a big bottle. I opened the hood, eventually found the right place, and poured in the liquid. It was strange that it didn’t take much to fill it. I quickly realized that the problem wasn’t a lack of fluid. The problem was that whoever had done my oil change had diluted the fluid with water to save a few cents. In the freezing weather that water had frozen over, and now blocked the rest of the fluid from emerging.
So on the way home, instead of pouring water on my windshield, I was pouring from a big bottle of windshield wiper fluid onto my windshield.
In life, and we have no choice but to forge ahead. But life is full of complexities and questions. We drive ahead with a windshield full of debris that obscures us from having comfortable clarity of the events surrounding us. There are rare moments when we are granted the temporary ability to see through a clear and clean windshield – moments of joy, celebration, as well as the downfall of the wicked. But those moments are few and far between, and very quickly our windshield clouds up again, veiling us from seeing the road that lies ahead of us, or the merging traffic.
Last week, Klal Yisroel was shocked by the tragic events suffered by the Gross family. A miracle involving their surviving sons (who should continue to have a refuah sheleimah) was befuddled by the unspeakable loss of their two beautiful young daughters. It’s indeed hard to see the road ahead!
Our only comfort lies in knowing that ultimately we are not the drivers. We are but passengers being driven by the Divine, with a windshield sparkling clear, on a road that leads straight ahead to eternity.  

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

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