Thursday, July 24, 2014


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Masei
Pirkei Avos – Perek 2 --- 27 Tamuz 5774/July 25, 2014 – Mevorchim Chodesh Menachem Av

They just couldn’t be prouder. Twelve years earlier they had undergone the arduous process of making Aliyah, which entailed moving away from much of their family and friends. They had to get used to a different lifestyle, a style of living that was simpler than they were used to in the States. But it was all worth it for them so that they could live and raise their children in Eretz Yisroel.
And now here they were at the Kosel, witnessing the induction of their son Yoni into the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Afterwards the family gathered around Yoni and took pictures with their smiling young soldier. They had a festive meal together with neighbors and couldn’t stop talking about Yoni protecting our holy borders from our evil enemies.
There was one thing that the proud parents failed to realize, one major detail. Although Yoni knew how to pose like a soldier and stand alongside his comrades, he had no idea how to act like a soldier or even fire a gun properly. Yoni’s induction was a terrible mistake which had somehow gone unnoticed, and Yoni didn’t have the courage or heart to tell anyone the truth. Although on the outside Yoni celebrated along with everyone else, in his heart he knew that he was in grave danger, because he had no clue of how to act in combat.
Whenever a twelve year old boy becomes a bar mitzvah it is a joyous event for all of Klal Yisroel. Another trainee has joined the ranks; another soldier has undertaken the perpetual battle for holiness and a Torah life. It’s an arduous battle, one in which we know of many spiritual casualties and even fatalities. But we have weapons, arms we bear that assist us in combat. They are our tzitzis and tefillin, tefillah, the timeless words of Tehillim, and Shabbos observance, to name a few.
One of the greatest tragedies is when a new inductee stands at his/her Bar/Bas Mitzvah smiling for pictures and enjoying the ‘induction ceremony’, but in reality has absolutely no idea how to be a soldier or how to ‘handle’ the weapons.
They may appear like any other soldier, looking sharp in their new tefillin, but they never learned the laws of tefillin and don’t appreciate the potency and holiness of their tefillin. They may have never tasted the beauty of Shabbos or appreciated the value of tefillah. Such soldiers will be woefully deficient in the epic battle they will encounter throughout their lives.
  The good news is that the soldiers can still learn if they seek it, and they can still transform themselves into excellent and invaluable soldiers. But it requires commitment and an understanding of the dangers they will confront as well as a stark realization of how great the stakes are. In times of war we need every soldier to be fighting as well as can. No one is dispensable.
May Hashem protect every one of our soldiers and bring them home safely.  

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

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