I once saw a great quote: In the same vein that there are no atheists in a foxhole, there are no believers in a metropolis. In a city that has every amenity and every type of store possible, including convenience stores that have numerous brands of every type of commodity, one hardly feels vulnerable or the need to be reliant on a Supreme Power.

One of the more dreaded destinations these days is the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It’s a place that many try to avoid as much as possible. But sooner or later a visit there is almost unavoidable.

Today, we are all familiar with Rav Noach Weinberg and the incredible work he accomplished in initiating and revolutionizing the kiruv movement. But when he first set out with the dream of creating such a movement in the 1960s, he was met with fierce resistance and skepticism. He himself related that in 1966, when he first opened Aish HaTorah, people would point at him and say “there goes Noach the crackpot! He thinks he can get non-religious people to want to adopt a Torah lifestyle.”

Growing up, I always felt like I was living in the shadow of my older brother Yitzie. Our personalities were quite different, and we didn’t look alike back then. But that didn’t change the fact that I was “Staum’s brother.” I was two grades behind him and often had rebbeim and teachers that he had.

I can’t say I’m very fluent in Yiddish, though I wish I was. Like many Orthodox Jews, I know “ah bissel.” From my years in yeshivah and hearing drashos, I have gleaned more of the “shprach.” I know enough to quote things to my students in Yiddish to make them think I know Yiddish. But there’s always at least one student who – when I say something in Yiddish – gives me a funny, knowing look that says, “Rabbi, both of us know that that didn’t make any sense grammatically.”