Thursday, October 26, 2017


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Lech Lecha  
7 Cheshvan 5778/October 27, 2017

This week, Mesivta Ohr Naftali of New Windsor, NY, where I am privileged to serve as General Studies Principal each afternoon, celebrated a special milestone. They have just completed the construction of a magnificent new Bais Medrash, and it was crowned with a Hachnasas Sefer Torah.
After the dancing and singing ended with the new Torah being placed in the beautiful, newly constructed Aron Hakodesh, everyone sat down in the new Bais Medrash for the speeches. As a member of the hanhala of the yeshiva, I was honored to be seated on the lower dais. I found a seat off to the side, but within a few minutes I was asked to move to the middle to accommodate a Rav who was wheel-chair bound. I soon found myself seated directly in the center, beneath the speaker. On one side of me there were three empty seats, since no one wanted to sit dead-center below the speaker.
I think there should be a quick lesson consisting of tips and survival ideas, as well as the dos and don’ts for sitting on a dais. Despite the fact that I’m sure no one was interested in what I was doing, I felt quite self-conscious, knowing that I was in the peripheral view of virtually the entire crowd. Although the speeches were passionate and inspiring, I spent much of that hour trying to figure out what to do with my fingers and how to remain somewhat inconspicuous.  
Recently, I heard the following story:
Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurebach zt’l was a mechutan with the Kapishnitzer Rebbe zt’l. At the end of the chasunah of their children, they were both waiting outside the wedding hall for the rides that would bring them home. Immediately, one of the rebbe’s chassidim ran inside and came back with a chair for the elderly rebbe to sit on. The rebbe, however, refused to sit down. He explained to the chasid that a person needs to live his life in such a manner that at any time if a photograph was taken of him, he would be happy with how it would appear to others.
“Imagine”, continued the rebbe, “if a picture was taken of me while I was sitting and, next to me, the great Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shlomo Zalman, was standing. How shameful it would be!”
In his famous lecture, ‘Ten Steps to Greatness’, Rav Avigdor Miller zt’l, suggests that once a day a person should stop and pose, as if for a picture, to remind himself that he is constantly being viewed by the celestial courts. It is the same message that the Kapishnitzer Rebbe related to his chosid -  one must always feel that his every action matters and helps define who he is.
This is in fact what Yiras Shamayim is about - living one’s life with a real sense that he is always standing in the presence of Hashem.
Thankfully, we may not have to spend our lives on a dais in full view of large crowds, but the G-d-fearig person lives life knowing that nothing he does goes unseen or is unimportant.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

                   R’ Dani and Chani Staum