Thursday, June 18, 2015


Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Korach
2 Tamuz 5775/ June 19, 2015
Pirkei Avos – Chapter 4

A number of years ago the infant daughter of one of close friends and colleagues suddenly took ill and had to be hospitalized. His wife stayed in the hospital round the clock with their baby while he shuttled back and forth between the hospital and home, caring for their other children. During one of the nights that his wife was in the hospital he inadvertently left his car door unlocked, something he never does, with his laptop on the seat. When he got into his car the following morning the laptop was gone. 
Later that day when he was back in the hospital he went downstairs to the bikur cholim room to warm up pizza for his and his wife’s lunch.
When he entered the elevators holding the two slices heading back up to the hospital room there was an elevator repair man standing inside. He looked at the repair man and said (the same thing I invariably would have said) “Well at least if the elevator gets stuck we’ll be okay.” The repair man hardly smiled as the doors closed.
Ironically enough moments later as the elevator was ascending there was a thud and the elevator stopped moving. The repair man looked at my friend blankly and shrugged. The repair man took out his cell phone and made some calls. After an extended period of time the repair man was finally able to pry the door open. During that time my friend’s wife was waiting nervously for him (he didn’t have his cell phone on him).
The elevator was stationed half way between the next floor so that when the door opened my friend was able to see the feet of the people waiting for the adjacent elevator. The people waiting for the adjacent elevator suddenly saw two slices of pizza fly out of the elevator followed by a religious bearded fellow climbing out of the elevator. Impatient to get back to his wife and baby he waved politely and walked off.
A few days later my friend went to speak to his rebbe. “What message is Hashem trying to send me? My baby was in the hospital, my lap top was stolen, and I got stuck in the hospital elevator with the repair man! Does Hashem want something from me?”
His rebbe replied that he had no idea why it all happened. However, he suggested to my friend that he sit down with his wife and calculate the hidden chesed that Hashem did for them during that time. He wanted them to figure out the things that could have been worse had they happened differently.
My friend related that when they made the list he was surprised to realize that indeed there were many things that happened which they had not realized had made the difficult situation more bearable. This was even before his baby left the hospital and everything was b’h fine.
I have thought about this anecdote many times. Chani and I have utilized this advice on a few occasions. After difficult situations transpired we reviewed what occurred and realized that as difficult and challenging as the situation was there was much to be thankful for.
We live in a world that is hyper-focused on the things we don’t have. Happiness however, lies in counting and realizing our blessings even, or perhaps especially, in challenging situations.

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

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