April 14, 2024
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
April 14, 2024
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

In Our Own Footsteps

We still often find ourselves asking aloud if we really had twins a little over 16 weeks ago.

As beautiful as they are, bli ayin hara, caring for twins is a tremendous challenge. Thankfully, we have had a baby nurse who has alleviated much of that challenge. Our most recent nurse, Marlene, is incredibly professional, and leaving our twins in her care has given us great peace of mind.

One day each week the nurse has off. Generally, she will go home or to family for the 24 hours so she can relax and catch up on some sleep.

Two weeks ago, on the last day of Chanukah, which coincided with January 1, our family headed to Lakewood for a family get-together. Marlene was off that day, and we were taking the twins with us. Before leaving, Chani gave Marlene the number for a taxi company. Marlene called them, and after they assured her that they were on their way, she waited by the door, coat on and valise next to her, for the taxi to bring her to the bus station.

When we arrived in Lakewood, Marlene texted Chani that the taxi had never arrived. Two hours had gone by, and they still hadn’t come! Chani felt badly, and offered to call a different taxi company, but Marlene said that at that point it wasn’t worth her schlepping home, and she would just enjoy the quiet in our home.

The next morning, Chani again expressed to Marlene that she felt badly that it hadn’t worked out for her. Marlene simply and sincerely replied, “It’s OK; I believe God has a plan for me!”

In the words of Rambam (introduction to commentary on Avot): “Hear the truth from whoever utters it!”

Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson related that even though he travels a lot, after a personal experience a few years ago he has a very different perspective about travel generally.

In his words: “A few years ago, I was heading to Ottawa for a speaking engagement. I arrived at the airport with plenty of time, but soon enough the flight was delayed, and then delayed again. After some time I came to the realization that there was no way I was going to make it there for the talk.

“I called the rabbi who had hired me and explained to him the predicament. He was insistent that I had to figure out a way. ‘There are so many people coming to hear you…’ I apologized a few times, but there was nothing I could do.

After I hung up the phone, my mind was still racing, trying to think of any way I could pull it off, when I noticed an elderly chasid sitting nearby, calmly learning from a sefer. I sat next to him and we began schmoozing. I asked him where he was heading, and he replied that he was heading to Ottawa to be sandek at his grandson’s bris. I looked at him surprised, ‘You realize that there is no way we are going to make it there before sunset, and the bris has to be before sunset?’ The chasid nodded. I couldn’t believe it. ‘So you are missing your grandson’s bris, and you’re okay with that?’

“The chasid looked at me and calmly replied, ‘Don’t you know the vort of Reb Chatzkel of Kuzhmir?’ I admitted that I didn’t, and so he continued: ‘Reb Chatzkel explained that every morning we recite the bracha thanking Hashem, “...hameichein mitzadei gaver—Who prepares the footsteps of man.” If one recites that bracha and doesn’t think to himself that wherever he ends up that day, and in whatever situation he finds himself in, is exactly where God wants him to be, has recited a bracha levatala!

“‘I wanted very much to be in Ottawa for my grandson’s bris, and I had planned on being there. But I said that bracha this morning, and now I see that Hashem didn’t want me to be there, so I have accepted it.”

In 1905, Friedrich, a native of Kallstadt, Bavaria, traveled to America to make some money. After a few years he sought to return to his hometown where his wife had remained. He wrote a letter to Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, pleading with him to allow him to return. The prince denied his request, as punishment for not fulfilling his responsibility to serve in the Bavarian military forces when he went to America. Because of that, he had been stripped of his Bavarian citizenship and was barred re-entry.

Friedrich was forced to return to America. At the time he was undoubtedly quite dejected because of it.

This past Friday, January 20, 2017, Friedrich’s grandson was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. How different would things be if Prince Luitpold had acceded to Friedrich Trump’s request!

By Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW

 Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead as well as guidance counselor and seventh-grade rebbe in ASHAR, principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor, and a division head at Camp Dora Golding. He also presents parenting classes based on the acclaimed Love and Logic methods. His email address is: [email protected]. His website is www.stamtorah.info.



Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles