No, this is not a discussion about sheitels or a new recipe for potato kugel (delicious, yet fat-free). Actually, it is my chance to finally get to express my opinions for once.
While I am sure you all enjoy your weekly reading of the Rabbi’s Musings, I have a little bit of a different perspective about the column. For most people, it is enjoyable to read about lessons that are gleaned from someone else’s daily foibles and events. But for me, it’s unnerving. You see, if I come home from the supermarket and forget something, I land up in a Musings. If I burn a cake (which never happens), I end up in a Musings. If my car stalls in the parking lot with the kids screaming, guess what that week’s Musings will be about?
Then there is the added frustration of the Rabbi taking credit. One of the original Musings was about when I alone took our children for professional pictures. In that week’s Musings (please circle one): My husband/the Rabbi/Dani wrote about how we took the children for pictures. When I read it, I asked him, “Who’s we, Kemo-Sabe? As far as I know, I took the kids myself?” He replied that since my name is affixed to the bottom, he has to write it that way.
The truth is that the weekly Musings has had a wonderful impact upon our entire family. Now, whenever anything unusual happens, instead of brushing it off, we stop and think about it. “Hey, that would make an interesting Musings.” Then we ponder what lesson we can derive from what occurred.
We (well really, Dani, but since my name is affixed to the bottom…) – he often says that he wonders whether more amazing things happen to baalei t’shuvah or is it just that they are more in tune to seeing the Hand of G-d in their lives?
Isn’t that the main message of Purim? Our Sages relate that every time the Megillah says “HaMelech – the King” (without saying Achashveirosh’s name) it is a clandestine reference to G-d. The Megillah teaches us to identify G-d, even – or rather, especially – when He uses “pen-names.”
The weekly Musings has definitely had that type of positive impact on our lives. Everything contains a message, and G-d signs His Name around us constantly. But we have to search for it.
Still, in all, I would feel more comfortable if the Musings did not have to tell everyone about our family’s personal idiosyncrasies and quirks.
I would have to say that the zaniest part of all is that the same person who often writes about what happens to me is now writing what he assumes I think about his weekly Musings. If you don’t understand what I mean, let me ask you, who do you think really wrote this? (I don’t even know what half of his words mean!)
Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is a rebbe and guidance counselor at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, NJ, Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor, and a division head at Camp Dora Golding. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking for periodic powerful inspiration? Join Rabbi Staum’s new Whatsapp group “Striving Higher.” Email for more info.