Thursday, July 10, 2014


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Pinchos
Pirkei Avos – Perek 6 --- 13 Tamuz 5774/July 11, 2014

This year Camp Dora Golding built a magnificent Shul/Bais Medrash in the heart of its 156 acre campus. The area around the perimeter of the shul was roped off so that the grass which was planted there could grow. When camp began two weeks ago, there was nothing but fertilized mud visible there. But within a few days little spurts of green were visible. After a week and a half the grass was noticeably growing.
For the last few days however, our area has been hammered by downpours of rain. Although much of the grass is still growing, there are noticeable places where the deluge of flowing rain destroyed the potential growth. Although it’s annoying, it’s not such a major issue because the grass can simply be replanted, and will grow within a short few days.
Contrast the growth of grass with the growth of a tree which can take years to fully mature. When a tree reaches its full height it towers majestically over the surrounding area, its branches spreading far beyond it, and its roots firmly taking hold deep beneath the earth in all directions. In addition, unlike grass which any child can rip out of the ground nonchalantly, it is a great challenge to chop down a tree, and an even greater challenge to uproot all of the branches beneath.
In the Song of Shabbos, Tehillim 92, Dovid Hamelech compares wicked evildoers to grass. “When the wicked bloom like grass and the doers of iniquity blossom – it is to destroy them till eternity.” The wicked are numerous and seem to dominate in all directions. Yet like grass one strong deluge can flood them all out perpetually.
The righteous on the other hand, are compared to mighty trees, firm and strong. “A righteous man will flourish like a date palm, like a cedar in Lebanon he will grow tall. Planted in the House of Hashem, they will flourish in the courtyards of our G-d.” Even the greatest and most severe tempests can only rock the branches and leaves upon the mighty trees, but their deep roots and great strength holds them in place to withstand all opposing forces.
Dovid Hamelech concludes that the righteous – like the palm and the cedar – will never whither. Because they are so deeply rooted in the ground they draw nourishment from the minerals and waters beneath even as they age. So too the righteous, even as their bodies physically atrophy with old age, they continue to be vibrant and in love with G-d, His Torah, and His world. They never forfeit their vitality and spirit, because they remain firm and committed in their faith.
Throughout the six day week we do not speak about this lofty perspective, because it’s hard to decipher truth from mirage when in the thick of the bog. But on Shabbos when we view the world from a celestial perspective, with a divine point-of-view, we strengthen ourselves by reminding each other that all of the wickedness and iniquity that surrounds and abounds is merely grass in the hands of G-d. And when the moment comes when G-d decides to eradicate all of that evil, it will happen at an unbelievably frenzied pace - as happened with the rapid fall of communism in the early 1990s. When it happens the mighty cedars and date trees will proudly watch the destruction of the miniscule grass which G-d will trample and destroy.
            Hopefully the grass in front of our beautiful shul will grow lush and enhance its aesthetic beauty. But if rain does destroy our grass, or if we see grass dried out in the summer heat, it will serve as a reminder to us that “Your enemies, Hashem… shall perish”; on the day when our nation will live in peace and security and Hamas and all of their nefarious friends will be destroyed forever.      

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

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