Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PARSHAS VAYERA 5777


“RABBI’S MUSINGS (& AMUSINGS)”
Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayera
17 MarCheshvan 5777/ November 18, 2016

These thoughts are lovingly dedicated in memory of my Savta, Mrs. Minnie Staum, Shprintza bas Avrohom Yitzchok a’h, whose yahrtzeit is Friday, 17 Cheshvan.
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Disclaimer: The following is not an endorsement of any candidate - not of their views, behaviors, or comments. It is merely a perspective on the reality of what has occurred.

“Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.”
(Red Smith, New York Hearld-Tribune, “Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff”, October 4, 1951; the day after Bobby Thomson hit the legendary walk-off homerun that won the Giant’s the pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers.)

How powerful is the media? How much of an effect do they have on our general perspective?
In regards to contemporary issues the ‘media experts’ present their opinion as they want it to be presented. As Jews, we especially know just how powerful they are. The media is heavily responsible for the anti-Israel bias that pervades campuses and liberal America. The lies and skewered truth that they so often portray leave us scratching our heads about how blatant facts can be so distorted.
This week’s election results stunned the world and shocked the media. There’s a certain satisfaction hearing so many of the “experts” admit that they were wrong. Things they said could not, and would never happen, happened.
Those who were hoping for the first female president to be elected felt disillusioned and disappointed that the “glass ceiling” was not shattered. It seems however, that there was a significant “glass ceiling” that was shattered – that of the arrogance of the media moguls. No one knows what the results will be and whether this will be a positive change for America or not. But the unthinkable has already occurred.
In our long and painful history, numerous unthinkable events happened. Many of them have been painful and terrifying. This week marks the commemoration of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, when 250 shuls were burned, 700 Jewish businesses were ransacked, and many Jews were tortured and killed throughout Germany in 1938. Rav Shimon Schwab zt’l noted that the infamous night is called Kristallnacht, not so much because of the broken glass that littered the streets. Rather it was the shattering of the illusion that it could not happen.
On the other hand, there have so many incredibly wonderful events that have occurred to our nation, despite the fact that they “could not happen”: The Jewish People’s return to Eretz Yisroel and the formation of a Jewish government, victory in 1967 and recapturing of Yerushalayim, the successful Entebbe raid, the rebuilding of the Jewish world and Torah observance after the Holocaust, and the falling of Communism and freedom of three million Jews in the Soviet Union. Before they occurred, it was absolutely impossible for them to happen. But then they did.
The fact that we have witnessed the impossible occurring is in the very genetics of our nation. In Parshas Lech Lecha, Hashem told Avrohom that he should count the stars “if you can count them”. Then Hashem added “So will be your descendants”.
Rav Meir Shapiro zt’l noted that Hashem was conveying to Avrohom that just as he was being instructed to count the stars even though it was impossible “So will be your children”. In other words, they will accomplish and persevere, despite it being impossible.
What the outcome of the new presidency will be remains to be seen. But the very fact that he won, despite the fact that everyone said it was impossible, is a stark reminder that we mortals do not decide what can or cannot happen.
So many people in their private lives have great dreams about things they want to accomplish. In the daily grind, it’s easy to become disillusioned and discouraged, and to give up on those dreams. This is especially true when the ‘realists’ say that it will never happen. This week served as a reminder that things can happen even when they are impossible. This surely does not mean they will happen just because we try so hard and want it so badly. But it does remind us that the experts do not decide our fate.
Of course, the whole idea of Moshiach coming, and all of Klal Yisroel returning to Eretz Yisroel, with the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash, and the end of terrorism is also absolutely impossible. Yet we, and the world, will witness it unfolding… very soon.
And then again the media will be forced to admit just how wrong they were! 

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

            R’ Dani and Chani Staum       

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