Thursday, March 6, 2014


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayikra
5 Adar II 5774/March 7, 2014

Many of the readers of this brilliant column are aware of our luggage woes. When our family went to Eretz Yisroel in December for my brother’s wedding, only ten of the eleven pieces of luggage we checked in came around the carousel at Ben Gurion airport. Thus began an arduous, frustrating, and fruitless search for that one piece of luggage which contained all of Chani’s clothing, as well as our sons’ suits for the wedding. [By the grace of G-d, at the last minute Chani had packed her gown and our daughter’s gowns in a different suitcase.]
When we returned home, the next step was to try to get reimbursed by Turkish Air, and the insurance company. Chani spent numerous hours over the course of a few weeks fulfilling all of their requirements via lengthy email correspondence, until they finally sent us a check. It was not easy especially considering the language barrier. [There was a language barrier despite the fact that they spoke English.]
We were sure the annoying luggage saga had finally come to an end. But then this past Thursday morning, a friend called Chani and related that she had just seen the following ad in that week’s Yated classified section:
“FOUND: Suitcase. In November, right before Chanukah, someone lost a suitcase by airport and JFK sent it to … It contained children and adult clothing. Please contact….”
Chani was quite skeptical but she called the number and identified the contents of the luggage. Wouldn’t you know it, by Thursday afternoon her long lost luggage was home! The son of the woman who had placed the ad had lost a piece of luggage and JFK had mistakenly delivered our luggage to her. It seems that after we checked it in, that piece of luggage never made it out of New York, although it was somehow inspected by Air France, who left a tag in the luggage reassuring us that they had done their best to keep everything in order.
What are the chances that our luggage would end up in the home of a frum person, in Monsey, who fulfilled the mitzvah of hashavas aveida, and didn’t just send it back to the airport? For over three months we were wondering where the luggage could be, when in reality it was in Monsey virtually the entire time! 
We often feel that the key to our happiness lies in achieving that one thing in our lives that keeps eluding us – an extension to our home, a new car, different neighbors, a new job, more nachas from our children, a shidduch, better health, etc. While one has every right to hope and yearn for the fulfillment of his dreams and hopes, he shouldn’t detain his own efforts to grow and achieve until his other dreams have come to fruition.
When Hashem appeared to Moshe from the burning bush, He told Moshe, “Do not come closer to here; remove your shoes from your feet, for the place upon which you stand is holy ground.” (Shemos 2:5)
The Chofetz Chaim explained that a person must realize that every situation and predicament of life that he finds himself in is potentially holy ground, if he consecrates it. One cannot wait for the ideal time to learn more, to perform more mitzvos, or to work on davening better. The challenge of life is to realize that “the place upon which you stand” at this very moment, “is holy ground”.
We cannot wait for all of our luggage to arrive, because Hashem may want us to strive for greatness despite the fact that we don’t have ‘all of our stuff’. And who knows, if at the moment we least expect it, Hashem will allow us to see that the luggage we thought we were missing and therefore couldn’t accomplish, was really with us the whole time.

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

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