June 13, 2024
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June 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Each Person’s Special Place

As technology becomes increasingly faster and more convenient, we expect to be able to do more and have more in less space. But everything has its limits. A few months ago, I opened my email only to find that I had no more available space. They informed me that it was not a problem and for a mere $1.99 a month, I could purchase ample additional space.

My phone is also quite frustrating, as it seems to never have any available space. These days when phones are used more for pictures and videos, I need to constantly transfer data to my computer before deleting it from my phone. Even my trusty laptop—from which all these brilliant articles emerge—constantly notifies me that it has no more available space. From it too, I have to transfer pictures and videos to our home computer. I hope it will be some time before that computer too, informs me that it has no more available space.

As we only have a limited amount of space, we must decide what we want to fill our space with. This is not only true about data and “stuff,” but also about our relationships as well. It’s up to us to show those we care about that they have “space” in our lives.

The Mishna (Avos 4:14) extols the greatness of the Jewish people by stating: “Yisroel is beloved because they are called sons to the ‘Makom—Omnipresent.’” In Pirkei Avos, generally Hashem is referred to as Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Why is He referred to as “the Place” here?

Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky notes that in the post-Holocaust years there was an unverbalized message conveyed to every child that he/she was vital to the Jewish cause. As a nation, we had lost so much and had endured such utter devastation and destruction that every individual was crucial for our efforts to rebuild. In the decades since then, we have witnessed incredible growth and unimagined success. The rebirth of Torah and Judaism is nothing short of a miracle. But our success has presented us with a great challenge. Often there is an underhanded message unwittingly conveyed to our children that says, “We don’t need you! If you are not exactly what we are looking for—we could find five others who are better suited for us!” This is felt most acutely when our young students look for high schools and seminaries, and even very painfully when young women are “in shidduchim.”

When we go on Chol Hamoed trips and must wait some time before even getting into the building, we start to think that there are so many Jews out there. But the truth is that every Jew is vital, and we have none to spare. Every adolescent on the streets, every soldier hurt or worse, God forbid, is an absolute tragedy. This is, perhaps, why the mishna says that every Jew is precious to “Makom,” because every one of us has a place around God’s table, as it were.

With our technological devices we can purchase more space, or get a better device, but with people—especially our children—we must make sure that they know there is always space for them. We must convey to everyone how valuable and vital his/her contribution is to our nation.


Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is a rebbe in Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck and an experienced therapist who sees clients in private practice as part of the Rockland CBT group. To schedule an appointment, call (914) 295-0115 or email [email protected].

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