July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We were away for Shabbos a few years back and I went to shul for Mincha a bit early on Shabbos afternoon. One of my sons decided to accompany me as he has a very punctual personality, and being early is part of his DNA. When we came to the shul I opened a sefer and sat down to learn for a few minutes, but my attention was quickly caught by the scene playing out in front of me. There was a person setting up seudah shlishit, which is a relatively common scene in shuls on Shabbos afternoon. It was the person helping this person that really caught my attention. A young boy of about 12 was helping put out place settings and bottles of soda. He unpacked challot from their bags and was very precise in his napkin placement on the table. What left me in awe was the fact that this boy didn’t have any hands. My son came over to me and asked me if he was born that way. He looked mesmerized and awestruck by this young boy. While as parents we teach our children not to stare, I wanted my son to see this boy in action and walk away with an incredibly valuable lesson for life. To this boy, I am sure, his actions that day were routine and it’s how he acted every day. To the outside observer, however, this boy showed tremendous creativity and effort. He represented courage and what it means to try despite the challenges that one may face in life. Without knowing it, this boy was a tremendous role model for others.

Rashi explains that a miracle occurred to the daughter of Pharaoh. When she saw the basket that contained Moshe floating on the water, she became curious and reached out in order to grab it. While the basket appeared far away, her hand miraculously extended beyond its normal reach in order to touch and take the basket. One may ask why she would have even bothered to reach for something that appeared impossible for her to attain? The Kotzker Rebbe, zt”l, suggests that when it comes to the potential fulfillment of a mitzvah, one must do their part without thinking too much as to whether they will be successful. There are moments in life when we may find ourselves making excuses as to why we can’t do a given mitzvah for a variety of reasons: “I don’t have enough time!” “I will be embarrassed!” “It’s not who I am!” “It won’t work!” etc. The lesson of the daughter of Pharaoh is that all we need to do is try, and hopefully Hashem will give us the strength to succeed.

By Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler

 Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler is rabbi of Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange, New Jersey, and is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice. Rabbi Zwickler can be reached at [email protected].

 

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