Friday, December 11, 2015


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Miketz – Rosh Chodesh Teves
6 Chanukah   
29 Kiselv 5776/ December 11, 2015

I wear various hats, albeit not at once.
A few weeks ago, they all merged, although thankfully they did not collide. After Shabbos when I wear my “Rabbi hat” (it’s one of the oldest tricks – to pull a rabbi out of our black hats), on Motzei Shabbos I attended an Ashar melave malkah [I am fifth grade Rebbe and Guidance Counselor at Ashar, a Modern Orthodox school not far from our home]. On Sunday afternoon I headed up to New Windsor, where I serve as Principal in Mesivta Ohr Naftali, for Parent-Teacher Conferences. From there I headed to the Camp Dora Golding reunion in Lawrence, NY
In regards to each one of my positions I have different responsibilities and roles to fill. It was interesting to go from rabbi mode, to rebbe/therapist mode, to principal mode, to camp mode – all within 48 hours. Oh, and then I came home and tried to play father/husband role, which is the most important of all.
It reminded me of a classic anecdote that former Vice President Al Gore related about former Senator Bill Bradley at a ‘roast’ in Bradley’s honor.
Senator Bradley once attended a dinner at which he was the featured speaker. Prior to Bradley’s address, the waiter set down a side dish of potatoes, and placed a pat of butter upon them. The Senator asked for an extra portion of butter. The waiter apologized and replied that he was instructed to only to give one pat of butter per guest.
Senator Bradley stared at the waiter and said: “I don’t believe you are aware who I am. I am a Rhodes Scholar and a former NBA star with the New York Knicks. I currently serve on the International Trade and Long-Term Growth Committee, and the Debt and Deficit Reduction Committee, and I am in charge of Taxation and IRS Oversight. This whole dinner is in my honor. And I’d like another pat of butter on my potatoes."
The waiter looked back at the Senator and replied, “Sir, do you know who I am?" Without waiting for a reply he continued, "I am the one in charge of the butter, and it’s only one pat of butter per guest!"
The bottom line it doesn’t matter as much how many hats we wear, as much as how well we wear each hat. We are all responsible to ‘provide the butter’ in regards to every one of our responsibilities.
At times a Torah Jew can feel like he has a dual identity, or even multiple identities. He may feel like one person when he’s in shul and like a different person when he enters his office.
The truth is that we have one underlying and overriding responsibility – and that is to sanctify G-d’s Name in whatever we do. True, the manner in which one sanctifies G-d’s Name is different in shul than it is in the office, but the goal remains the same.
The Maccabes risked their lives so that they, and we, can have the right and ability to live our lives serving G-d as our ancestors did. 
 In that sense, we only have one hat to wear. It may have different colors and at times it may have different logos and insignias. But no matter where we are and who is with us, the hat remains basically the same – the hat of Kiddush shem shomayim.
A Lichtige Chanukah & Chag Urim Sameiach
Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos
Good Chodesh,
R’ Dani and Chani Staum       

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