Thursday, October 19, 2017


Erev Shabbos Kodesh parshas Noach/ Rosh Chodesh MarCheshvan
30 Tishrei 5778/October 20, 2017

What an incredible few weeks it’s been! The tefilllos, special mitzvos, extra family time, trips, and wonderful meals are all part of what makes the Yom Tov season such an incredible experience. But, all good things must come to an end.
Following havdalah on Motzei Shabbos, after the third “3-day Yom Tov” in four weeks, we put our younger children to sleep, began the incessant loading and unloading of the washing machine, and straightening up the house.
Although none of our children complained of any such symptoms, Chani and I both felt slightly lightheaded. It was definitely a possible side effect of the whole Yom Tov experience. But to be sure we went to double check our carbon monoxide detector. It turned out that what I thought was a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector was only the former. So I plugged in a spare carbon monoxide detector from our drawer. After blinking a few times, it emitted a long relentless beep. When we tried it a second time and a third time with the same result I called 9-1-1. I told the dispatcher that we were unsure if our carbon monoxide detector was defective or if we had a serious problem. Within minutes there was a police car, fire engine, and ambulance in front of our home - all with their lights flashing.
As soon as the first emergency responder pulled up, he told us to immediately take everyone out of the house. Most of the personnel were frum Jews and we could’ve had a minyan for maariv if we haven’t already davened. As soon we carried all of our sleeping children outside, the firemen entered our home with their high-tech detector. They searched their house but found no detection of any carbon monoxide, bh.
A few minutes later, a representative of the electric company arrived and did a more thorough inspection, which thankfully also came up with nothing.
Within fifteen minutes, the block was as quiet as it had been a few minutes earlier, save for our twins who were now wide awake and ready to start their day. But, bh, all is well that ends well.
The next morning, I was teaching our Sunday morning post-shachris Mesillas Yesharim class in shul. The Ramchal writes that one of the ways one can achieve yiras shomayim (fear of heaven) is by picturing in one’s mind that when he davens he is literally communicating with the Master of the World, in whose Presence he stands, and Who is hearkening to his every word. Ramchal adds that this is particularly challenging for us because our natural senses cannot help us recognize this truth. Normally we employ our natural senses in order to viscerally experience anything. But to recognize how connected one is with G-d when he prays requires intellectual reflection.
The same reason carbon monoxide is so dangerous, is why we have a hard time realizing how incredible is our power of prayer – we have a hard time believing things we cannot physically see/experience. But just as the toxicity of carbon monoxide is real despite our inability to detect it, so too is the profundity and power of our prayers every time we turn to G-d and seek to connect with Him.
We would be wise to reflect upon that truism every time we begin to daven.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos/ Chodesh Tov & A Gut Chodesh,

              R’ Dani and Chani Staum