Thursday, May 28, 2015


Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Naso
11 Sivan 5775/ May 29, 2015
Pirkei Avos – Chapter 1

In the past I have written about the golf course which runs adjacent to the street I walk up in order to get to shul on Shabbos (see Musings 70 & 190). Apparently one need not be a very adroit and skillful golfer to patronize that golf course. During our uphill trek to shul we often peruse the area searching for golf balls that not only missed their holes but also cleared the high trees and the road at the edge of the golf course.
When we come home from shul our children proudly add the newfound golf balls to their burgeoning collection. This week I was informed that we now have 67 golf balls.
For a time the golf ball collection was situated at the base of a bush in front of our home. Each morning our younger children would look to see if the golf balls had rooted so that our golf ball tree had begun growing. To their disappointment it never happened. The most movement the golf balls had was when some of them dropped down a gopher hole.
Unlike the stagnant and inorganic golf balls however, our shuls and homes were filled with verdant and beautiful flowers and greenery. Undoubtedly the ones who most ‘enjoy’ Shavuos (or at least pre-Shavuos) are Tenuvah, J & J, Haolam, and the other  dairy companies. But florists come in at a close second. 
It’s fascinating that those flowers which so beautifully and regally adorned our homes throughout Yom Tov are by now wilting and withering. Even the most robust and verdant flowers are limited in how long they can remain fresh.
The truth is that it is for that very reason that flowers are so apropos as a symbolic custom on Shavuos. Someone once quipped that women don’t love flowers even though they die; women love flowers because they die. In other words, because flowers die and have to be replaced, the beauty of flowers represents the need for constant and continual investment.
Flowers symbolize the need for constant effort and investment to maintain and build even the best relationships. When one allows his/her marriage to operate on status quo the relationship becomes stagnant and wilted.  Relationships are organic and constantly developing, unlike inorganic golf balls that remain the same wherever they may find themselves.
Shavuos is not merely a celebration of receiving the Torah, but also the context of how it was given – like a wedding between a choson and a kallah. One’s Torah and mitzvah observance cannot merely be done out of rote. Such service becomes trite and boring. Like any relationship it needs constant freshness and excitement to maintain the passion and connection.
The flowers of Shavuos served their purpose. And now the flowers of the coming Shabbos need to take their place, with that same beauty and excitement.  

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

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