Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Shvi’i Shel Pesach 5775

Erev Shabbos Kodesh – Shvi’i shel Pesach
21 Nissan 5775/ April 10, 2015

Whenever discussing somewhere she went, my Bubby – she should live and be well – says that she went ‘heen and back’. A family member once told her that in English the expression is that we go ‘back and forth’. But Bubby was Bubby is adamant that she was more correct: “How can you go back before you went forth?! First you go ‘heen’ and only then do you come back!” It’s a fair point.
The truth is that no matter if he’s coming or going, a Jew is never lost. [Not just because husbands insist they aren’t lost when their wives insist that they have been driving around in circles…]
At the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim, Klal Yisroel displayed incredible faith in following Moshe’s lead into the desert with complete faith. When Pharaoh was informed of the circuitous route they were taking (they in fact re-entered the confines of Egypt shortly after leaving) he was certain that they were lost. That emboldened him to take up the pursuit which eventually landed his army a permanent place at the bottom of the sea.
If only Pharaoh would have known that a Jew is never lost!

February 2014, about an hour to Shabbos.
I went into my garage to take out the garbage when, to my chagrin, I found torrents of water cascading down the wall inside the garage. After a brief investigation it became clear that the pipe hooked up to the sprinkler outside had frozen and burst. I made an urgent phone call to my plumber and asked him to come, or send someone over before Shabbos to fix it.
While talking to the plumber on my cell phone, my wife handed me the house phone. It was a fellow who had been in camp a few years earlier. “Rabbi Staum, I’m not sure if you remember me. This is Eli. I am in the car with four other people. We are NCSY (National Council of Synagogue Youth) leaders and we are on our way to an NCSY Shabbatone in Waterbury CT. We left Brooklyn at about 12 p.m. But after a stop in Queens and getting a flat tire, we are now way behind schedule. There’s no way we are going to make it to Waterbury. Our GPS says we are about an hour from Monsey. I’m sorry for the late call, but do you think we can come to you for Shabbos?”
Of course I agreed but was skeptical if they would be able to make it. They were driving on a donut and there was Friday traffic. There was hardly a chance they would make it to Monsey before sunset.
In the meanwhile my neighbor had come over and thankfully was able to shut the valve and stop the flooding water.
When I told him what was going on he immediately looked at a map online. He called them back and, surveying the area, told them that they were a ten minute drive from Mount Kisko. There were two religious communities in Mount Kisko. One was Nitra Chassidim, the other a small growing modern orthodox community under the leadership of Rabbi Eli Kohl. My neighbor gave them directions for their GPS, and wished them hatzlocho.
After Shabbos Eli called to thank me for my help, and to inform me about what had occurred. They decided to head to the smaller community, and they knocked on the door of the Rabbi Kohl with less than an hour to Shabbos. At that point Rabbi Kohl informed that that week in the Mount Kisko community the shul was hosting a Shabbatone. They had ample food and many children who came for Shabbos, but they were short leaders to help out! The group of NCSY leaders remained there for Shabbos and enhanced the Shabbatone tremendously. They plan on returning in the future.
They thought they were going to do kiruv in Waterbury, but Hashem orchestrated that they do kiruv in Mount Kisko.
And all because a few leaders ‘accidentally’ ended up in the ‘wrong’ location for Shabbos.
So Pharaoh, is a Jew ever really lost? 

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
            Freilichen Yom Tov & Chag Kasher V’samyach
            R’ Dani and Chani Staum

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