April 16, 2024
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April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

By Rabbi Dani Staum

Years ago, there was a time when my older brother was into learning and performing magic tricks. On one occasion during that time, my parents took our family to a magic store. The owner showed us all sorts of interesting tricks and gadgets. Then, at one point, he turned to my father and asked, “Would you like to see my pride and joy?” Not wanting to be rude, my father replied affirmatively. The owner then produced a picture of two bottles—the cleansing agents, “Pride and Joy.”

In days of old, people used to keep pictures in their wallets of those nearest and dearest to them. Then, along came cell phones, Instagram, Snapchat and beyond, and rendered those wallet pictures basically obsolete. Although I no longer have the wallet I had when I got married, in my current wallet I still carry some of the pictures of our children from years ago.

Perhaps—it may be somewhat of a heretical question—but supposing God had a wallet, whose picture would be in it? Who could be deemed the “pride and joy” of the Master of the World, as it were?

We state the answer every morning at the beginning of Pesukei Dezimra when we declare, “al Yisroel ga’avaso—for Yisroel, His pride.” Every one of us—by virtue of the fact that we are card-carrying members of klal Yisroel—are Hashem’s ultimate pride. That, undoubtedly, carries with it a tremendous burden and sense of responsibility, for we must live up to that encomium.

At the same time, however, it is a source of great encouragement and chizuk. When we daven, we are not merely davening to the supreme power and Creator of the world. We are also davening to our divine Father who loves us and takes great pride in our service to Him.

We are taught that when one davens, he should do so with the feeling that he is presenting his requests and needs before the only Being, who truly possesses the ability to fulfill his petitions.

Therefore, if our prayers are not fulfilled, we need to remind ourselves that it is not because our prayers have not been heard. After all, what loving parent does not listen to the pleas of his child? Rather, it’s because our loving Father knows what is really best, even when it does not seem that way to us.

As the month of Tammuz begins and the weeks of mourning approach, it behooves us to bear in mind this idea. We are His joy and pride, and to view all that has occurred and does occur to us is in that context. After all, we are His pride and joy!


Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is a popular speaker and author. He is a rebbe in Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, NJ, and an experienced therapist, recently returning to seeing clients in private practice, as part of the Rockland CBT group. For appointments Rabbi Staum can be reached at 914-295-0115. Looking for an inspirational and motivating speaker or scholar-in-residence? Contact Rabbi Staum for a unique speaking experience. Rabbi Staum can be reached at [email protected]. Archives of his writings can be found at www.stamtorah.info.

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