Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Terumah
3 Adar I 5776/ February 12, 2016

 While standing and davening at the Kosel Hama’aravi last week I was reminded of the following anecdote I had once heard: 
An elderly man who was attending an NFL game one Sunday afternoon with his family. In the middle of the game, the man suddenly stood up and began screaming at the top of his lungs “SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE! SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE!” The family became alarmed as they tried to clam him. But he continued repeatedly screaming, “SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE! SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE!” They feared that he had lost his mind until he screamed, "THERE ARE SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE AT THIS GAME! AND THAT BIRD FLYING OVERHEAD COULD NOT FIND ANYONE ELSE BESIDES ME!”
I was reminded of the story while my eyes were closed and my head was leaning upon my arm which was propped against the Kosel. I leave it to you, dear reader, to understand why I was reminded of that story at that particular moment. 
I also remembered a friend of mine relating to me that he had a similar experience while davening at the kosel. He looked up and said “I know when I'm not wanted.” And with that he turned around and left.
But then I thought that perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe my prayer is so potent and important that the Satan is doing all in his power to hinder it because he knows just how valuable it is.
So, after cleaning myself off, I resumed my prayer.
Whenever one intends to accomplish something good he should expect that all will not be rosy and easy. To attain anything worthwhile entails exertion, effort, and perseverance.
My rebbe, Rabbi Berel Wein, notes that he used to have a clip which held his bills (he notes that it was a rather large clip) on which was written: “Confidence is the feeling you have until you realize the problem!”
It's not enough to be motivated to accomplish; one has to be motivated enough that he is ready to deal with the inevitable challenges.
It's kinda like playing in the Super Bowl. It's not enough for a team to want to win badly and to be motivated as such. They also have to know how to break through the opposition who stands starkly in the way of their ultimate goal.
I'll conclude by saying that lest you think birds don't take aim at great people too. I was told that the noted (and very sharp) Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, also had a similar experience that I had at the kosel. 
Afterwards he relates that the Gemara recounts that Rav Yonasan ben Uziel was so holy, “if a bird flew overhead while he was learning, it was immediately consumed by fire”. Rav Ezrachi then quipped, “I'm not Rav Yonasan ben Uziel who causes birds to become consumed when they fly overhead. But 'efshar a tziter' - perhaps (I cause them to) tremble.”

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

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