Friday, October 26, 2012


Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW
Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead
Social Worker, Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch/Ashar



          Rabbi Nafatli Eisgrau, menahel of Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch, was a close disciple of Rav Don Ungarischer zt’l, the late Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey[2]. Rav Ungarischer was a son-in-law of Rav Reuven Grozovsky zt’l, and one of the great Torah leaders of the Monsey community since its inception.
Rabbi Eisgrau related the following story:
“On one occasion when I was on a flight to Eretz Yisroel, a flight attendant asked me where I was from. When I told her I was from Monsey, NY, she asked me if I knew Rabbi Ungarisher. I replied that he was my Rebbe. She then excitedly told me that she now keeps Shabbos because of him. She related that Rabbi Ungarischer spent hours with her during a flight explaining to her how important Shabbos is in the life of a Jew.
“I was surprised by what she told me because I know, from previous times that I accompanied the Rosh Yeshiva to Eretz Yisroel, that he learned uninterruptedly throughout the flight. When she told me when it occurred, I realized that it was when the Rosh Yeshiva was accompanying the body of his newly deceased wife for burial in Eretz Yisroel. As an Onen he was not allowed to learn Torah. So instead he brought a fellow Jew closer to G-d by caringly and gently explaining to her the beauty and greatness of Shabbos.”

When the Torah introduces Noach it utilizes many beautiful accolades: “a righteous man, perfect in his generations…” Yet, when the Torah introduces Avrohom Avinu no such ornate adjectives are used. In fact, the Torah doesn’t tell us anything about him other than the fact that he married and left home.
A ‘perfect righteous’ man is one who does everything commanded of him to the tee. “Noach walked with G-d”. No matter how arduous and challenging his instructions – building an Ark despite being scorned and mocked, collecting all the animals, feeding and caring for all the animals, etc. - Noach was up for the challenge.
It would surely seem that Noach was far greater than Avrohom. Yet Avrohom is our first patriarch, while all the nations of the world are titled ‘Children of Noach’?
Also, why is the Torah not explicit about the greatness of Avrohom as it is about Noach?
The difference between Noach and Avrohom is analogous to the difference between a dependable secretary and a spouse. A secretary does whatever she is expected to do for her employer. She knows the office schedule, she maintains order, and she makes sure everything is done orderly and efficiently. In a healthy marriage however, a husband and wife don’t merely do what is asked of them. In marriage there is a relationship of love which entails understanding each other deeply and anticipating ways to build and strengthen each other.
Noach was perfectly righteous in that he kept the letter of the law faithfully and perfectly. But Avrohom went beyond that because he anticipated and pondered the spirit of the law. He didn’t want to merely fulfill G-d’s command, he wanted to sanctify G-d’s Name and teach the world how to live an elevated G-dly life.
G-d’s first command to Avrohom was that he leave his homeland, family, and friends to march towards an unknown destination[3]. But G-d never instructed him to create a mass kiruv movement. Yet, “he built there an altar to G-d, and called out in the Name of G-d[4].” Wherever he went he taught and inspired and built students.
Rashi[5] expresses the distinction between Noach and Avrohom in that Noach needed support in his service to G-d while Avrohom ‘strengthened himself and walked in his own righteousness’. Noach walked with G-d while Avrohom walked before G-d[6].
The Torah doesn’t employ adjectives to describe the greatness of Avrohom because that greatness cannot be captured in words. Avrohom’s greatness was that he forged a relationship with his Creator. He went beyond mere fulfillment of G-d’s command to a level of connection and internalizing. One can only appreciate the greatness of Avrohom from understanding how the Torah describes his conduct. “For I have known him, in order that he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the ways of G-d, doing charity and justice…[7]” Avrohom wanted nothing more than to promulgate G-d’s Word and teach it to the world. 

In our world one of our greatest deficiencies is that we fail to understand Avrohom’s contribution. As Torah observant Jews we keep the laws of the Shulchan Aruch and stay true to the bottom line expectations of the Torah. But it seems that we are often trying to maneuver our way around halacha, in order to beat the system without cheating the system.
Avrohom taught that Torah and mitzvos are not just things we do, but it’s a way of life! The Torah never says ‘eat like a mentch’ or ‘have good middos’. But one who learns Torah properly and understands its underlying message will realize that the Torah is teaching us how to be an upstanding moral person, a role model for the world. 
All peoples and nations of the world are called ‘Children of Noach’. Rav Shimshon Pinkus zt’l noted that the major religions of the world believe in ‘G-d’ and demand compliance with what they claim to be the laws of G-d. But no other nation has the audacity to espouse that we can – and must – have a personal and intimate relationship with G-d. That is exclusively a Jewish idea. Such an idea can only be preached by the children of the patriarchs who lived their lives in such a manner.
Moshe was called an ‘eved ne’eman – faithful servant’[8].  To be faithful means one goes beyond expectation. He searches, or rather pines, to find ways to serve his master. It’s not a job, it’s a privilege. He exudes a feeling of ‘It’s a pleasure to serve you’.
Our great Torah leaders live their lives in this manner. They constantly strive for ways to serve G-d beyond what’s expected of them, in order to bring ‘pleasure to their Creator’. When Rav Don Ungarischer zt’l was unable to learn Torah, recite berachos, or perform mitzvos, he found another way to serve G-d, because that was his passion and life’s mission.
This Shabbos marks the first yahrtzeit of the beloved and legendary Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt’l[9]. His dedication to Hashem defied belief. The Parkinson’s which ravaged his body couldn’t dampen the glowing spark of his soul. He taught Torah, inspired Klal Yisroel, and clearly loved every minute of it, despite his physical suffering. That is the life of a ‘ne’eman’; one who lives beyond expectation and responsibility, in a realm of love and selflessness. 
During his final years, even on days when he was too weak to say one of his scheduled chaburos or shiurim, he wouldn’t cancel them. On one occasion, he got up to speak but couldn’t get a word out. There was an uncomfortable silence and then he tried to start a second time, but again to no avail. He wasn’t even able to mouth the words ‘I can’t’. He asked someone to pass him a piece of paper, on which he wrote, “Nisiti, selicha – I tried; I’m sorry.[10]
The Rosh Yeshiva did everything he could towards his herculean efforts to serve Hashem. He was able to come so he came, he was able to open the gemara so he did. Although he surely felt weak that day and knew that he may be unable to say his shiur, he pushed himself to the limit. It was only when he reached his limit that he was forced to concede defeat[11]

Our forefather Avrohom taught us how to live with G-d, not just before G-d. We must strive for greatness and never be complacent with mediocrity or even mere obligation-fulfillment. We must strive to reach the level when we too are deemed a ‘ne’eman’, as we state each morning[12], “You are Hashem Elokim that You chose Avrom… And you found his heart faithful before you.” 

“A righteous man, perfect in his generations”
“He called out in the Name of G-d”

[1] Lecture delivered in Kehillat New Hempstead, Shabbos Kodesh parshas Lech Lecha 5772, in honor of the respective afrufs of Dov Kerner and Yechiel Teiler 
[2] The Rosh Yeshiva’s first yahrtzeit was this past Friday on 3 Cheshvan
[3] 12:1-3
[4] 12:8
[5] 6:9
[6] 17:1
[7] 18:19
[8] Shabbos shacharis Shemoneh Esrei, based on Bamidbar 12:7
[9] 11 Cheshvan
[10] Heard from Rav Aharon Lopiansky shlita, Rosh Bais Medrash, Yeshiva of Greater Washington, and brother-in—law of Rav Nosson Tzvi zt’l

[12] In the paragraph “Vayivarech Dovid”

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Lech Lecha
10 Cheshvan 5773/October 27, 2012

Surely you’ve heard of Country-Yossi and the two most famous Shteeble-Hoppers in the world - Kivi and Tuki. Tuki is self-described as “kooky but not a little fluky”, while Kivi ‘knows more Torah than my Morah’.
On their original album, Country Yossi challenges Tuki to tell him about a mitzvah he did that day. After Tuki unsuccessfully tries to convince Country Yossi that reading a Superman comic book is a mitzvah, Tuki says ‘I kissed my Bubby’. Country Yossi replies, “That’s not a mitzvah.” Tuki is surprised, “It’s not?”, to which Country Yossi replies, “It’s nice and everything, but it’s not a mitzvah.”
I have to say that I agree with Tuki on this one. Is kissing your Bubby not a mitzvah? To be fair, I imagine Country Yossi was referring to a mitzvah written explicitly in the Torah, and indeed it never says “Thou shall kiss your Bubby” in the Torah. But as far as the Torah’s unwritten - yet strongly emphasized - demand for mentchichkeit and respect, undoubtedly kissing one’s Bubby is a mitzvah.
Why is there a magical connection between grandparents and grandchildren? I am fond of the late Sam Levenson’s quip that Grandparents and grandchildren get along so well because they share a common enemy. Grandparents see in their grandchildren the fulfillment of their ultimate desire to leave behind a future that will carry out their legacy and remember them. And because every grandparent is blessed with the most perfect, cute, and wonderful grandchildren, that blessing is truly magnified.
The nostalgic memories of visits to the homes of grandparents often leave the strongest indelible memories throughout one’s lifetime. The feeling of complete security where that one can do no wrong is unparalleled anywhere outside of a grandparent’s home.
I have been blessed that I can still kiss my Bubby. She now lives local and I try to see her at least once a week. She is a connection to a forgotten world and I treasure the fact that my children are able to know her. She is the Matriarch of our family and continues to inspire us b’h.
But what wouldn’t I give to be able to kiss my Savta one more time! And what wouldn’t I give to kiss my Zaidy and my Sabbah one more time! Personally, the month of Cheshvan is always a time when I think a lot about my grandparents, because both my Savta’s and Zaidy’s yahrtzeits are during Cheshvan (17 and 27 Cheshvan respectively).
So whether it’s a mitzvah or not, Tuki, give your Bubby a big kiss, and appreciate the incredible gift that you have to kiss a living connection to the past; one who sees in you the fulfillment of the greatest dreams for the future.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
   R’ Dani and Chani Staum

720 Union Road • New Hempstead, NY 10977 • (845) 362-2425

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW
Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead
Social Worker, Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch/Ashar



          The following stories are just a few of the experiences that my Bubby, Rebbitzin Fruma Kohn related to me from her personal experiences as an adolescent in Siberia during World War II:
“It was freezing in Siberia during the winter; at times it reached forty degrees below zero. They made us do grueling work to fill impossible quotas. If we didn’t we wouldn’t receive our meager rations of bread. Yet men would wake up early to daven shacharis with a minyan.
          “On Yom Kippur, a group of men secretly gathered in a secluded room to recite Kol Nidrei, and whatever prayers they could remember by heart. A fellow Jew, no doubt trying to prove his loyalty to the accursed communists, ratted on them. In the middle of their prayers, soldiers burst in to the room and took them to jail.
          “As the spring approached and the air began to get warmer, we began to think about how we could possibly have matzos in Siberia. Normally even entertaining the thought was ludicrous. But just before Pesach the ‘bakery’ burned down and they could not provide us with bread. Instead they gave us raw flour. We constructed an oven out of iron and divided it with the Poles who were prisoners with us. They baked bread on their side of the oven and we baked kosher matzos on the other side. On the night of Pesach we conducted a Seder while the Poles kept a sharp lookout for soldiers. Then when it was their holiday, we would keep a lookout as they would celebrate.”
          The unwavering dedication that was displayed for Torah and mitzvos boggles the mind. What wouldn’t these Jews do to serve G-d even in the bleakest of times? The myriads of stories of Jews standing on long lines in death camps to shake a Lulav, those who sang ‘Ani Ma’amin’ on their way into the gas chambers of Aushwitz, those who gave up half their meager bread ration to don a pair of tefillin for a few moments in Treblinka, those who would not entertain the possibility of converting to Christianity even in the face of persecution of the Auto-da-fe, etc. are all testaments to our unyielding dedication to our mission and destiny as the bearers of the Torah and G-d’s ambassadors to the world.

          One thousand years had passed since the creation of the world. G-d decided that the world had to be eradicated and started anew. Noach was chosen to sustain the remaining minority of the world while the rest of the world was completely flooded.
When the rains finally subsided and the land was dry enough to replenish new life, Noach opened the door of the ark and all of its inhabitants departed to repopulate the world. Immediately Noach decided to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to Hashem.
The verse (8:21) states, “G-d smelled the pleasant odor (of Noach’s sacrifice) and He said to Himself, ‘I shall no longer curse the land because of man, for the inclination of man is evil from his youth and I will not continue to smite all the living beings which I have created’.”
          Why was the sacrifice of Noach so potent? What was it about its smell that caused G-d to immediately vow that he would never again destroy the world?
          The greatness of Noach’s sacrifice was that Noach had to make the greatest self-sacrifice in order to bring them.
          One can only imagine what it was like to be inside the Ark during the flood. If one has ever smelled horse’s stables they can only imagine how much more magnified that smell was.[1] Every single type of bird, amphibian, mammal, reptile, fish, fungi, protozoa, bacteria, algae, and plant life (not to mention demons and spirits) had to be nourished and sustained for the duration of the flood. Noach and his family did not have a solitary moment of rest from the moment he sealed the ark until he allowed the animals out. The one time he came a moment late to feed the lions, he was rewarded with a sharp strike in the leg that caused him to limp for the rest of his life.
          Noach emerged from the Ark a tired man[2]. The sight that greeted him when he opened the door of the Ark must have been terrifying. When he entered the Ark and G-d sealed the doors as the rain began to fall, Noach saw myriads of people amassed near the Ark menacingly. In the distance were buildings and society. Now he saw nothing but the utter silence of desolation.
          The animals Noach and his family had cared for in the Ark were sustained with every last ounce of their energy and dedication. He had nourished each animal individually with precision. Now Noach took from those animals and slaughtered them in appreciation of G-d’s salvation. That was the ultimate sacrifice.
Normally when one wanted to offer a sacrifice to G-d he went to a local farmer to purchase the animal. He then ascended to Jerusalem where he commissioned a Kohain to offer his sacrifice upon the Altar. Here however Noach took an animal that was only alive because of his own herculean efforts and offered it to G-d. That was true sacrifice. It was the odors of those sacrifices which prompted G-d to pledge to never destroy the world again.  

          The Mishna[3] states, “Rebbe said…Be as scrupulous in performing a minor mitzvah as in a major one, for you do not know the reward given for the respective mitzvos.” I once heard the Mishna explained in the following manner: We conceptualize there is a ‘point system’ for mitzvos. We think Shabbos must be worth a lot of points while standing up for an old man is probably worth much less. In truth however, one mitzva is not greater than another[4]. The value of a mitzvah is wholly dependent on the effort invested in its performance. Two people can perform the same mitzvah, yet one will receive a far greater reward for it. What really matters in the celestial courts is the feeling and motive one had when performing a mitzvah. This is the message Rebbe is conveying to us: Do not think one mitzvah is minor or major, because in truth every mitzvah is major; it just depends how much you put into it.
          Any person involved in a serious relationship knows that the durability of the relationship can only be seen from how they are able to manage and deal with challenges and difficult situations. When things are going well and everyone is happy, any relationship can prosper. It’s not a true measure of marital success to see a bride and groom blissfully happy with each other. But if things become difficult and there is pressure involved and they are able to steer through those difficult times together, that shows that the relationship is concrete and solid.
          On a deeper level the same holds true in regards to our relationship with our Creator. Our dedication to G-d is not proved when it is easy for us to keep the mitzvos. Rather it’s when the chips are down and one doesn’t feel that same sense of spiritual bliss that he felt during the holidays. Is he still able to produce and maintain his values and spiritual commitments?
          The greatness of Noach’s sacrifice after the flood was that he was willing to sacrifice the fruits of his greatest efforts out of love for G-d. That is the true measure of righteousness and dedication.   

           “G-d smelled the pleasant odor”
“For you do not know the reward given”

[1] A friend once described it as a floating Bronx Zoo without a proper sewage system.
[2] Not to mention that he was six hundred years old.
[3] Avos 2:1
[4] To be sure, there are unquestionably certain mitzvos which carry greater significance, precedence, and value than others.


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Noach
3 Cheshvan 5773/October 20, 2012

“C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me.” He’s blue, furry, googly-eyed, and can’t get enough cookies. He’s a legend in America and has been inspiring children everywhere for decades. He’s the one and only Cookie Monster!
But in recent years his inspiration has been called into question. Child psychology experts and parents throughout the world have begun to wonder whether Cookie Monster is playing a role in the obesity epidemic ravaging Western Society.
Innocent children are being exposed to this beloved puppet who can eat as many cookies as he wants without compunction. What’s more, he eats his cookies with animalistic and crazed fervor and like a complete slob, sending crumbs flying in all directions. How can we expect our children to grow into fine, decent, health-conscientious, productive members of society with such terrible role models like Cookie Monster?!
And so in their brilliance and foresight, the creators of Sesame Street have added vegetables to Cookie Monster’s diet. Yes, he still enjoys a tasty cookie. But he also enjoys a good piece of carrot and broccoli. His new song is “A Cookie is a sometimes food”.
Kudos to the experts who have come to the conclusion that children’s eating habits can be influenced by television, even by a Muppet-monster that every child knows isn’t real. The fact remains the same: children are very impressionable.
At the same time it’s fascinating to note the increase of children exposure to television. And the television of today is very different from that of the past. Hardly a commercial doesn’t have an innuendo, and hardly a show on TV doesn’t have scenes of relationships that any decently moral person would be disgusted by, or a scene of violence depicting shootings and blood that we would be horrified to ever see in real life.
I read recently that if an average child/adolescent is asked to guess how many times he/she thinks a police officer fires off a gun during his career on the force, most would answer upwards of 50. In truth the overwhelming majority of police officers NEVER fire their gun throughout their career. The fact that police officers are almost always drawing their guns on TV probably has absolutely no bearing on that mistaken idea.
The effects of continued TV exposure have been shown to increase anxiety, social withdrawal, social incompetence, and attention deficits, to name a few. This is all based on studies done in the general society. As Torah Jews we have other vital concerns to contend with as well.
So in conclusion I just want to express my happiness that Cookie Monster has realized the need to include salad in his diet. Let him go back to eating only cookies and parents all over America may decide that it’s time to pull the plug on the blue beast. But let Cookie Monster shoot someone who tries to steal his cookies (with the salad on top), and that would seem to not be as much of a concern. After all, that type of stuff is entertainment, and what could be wrong with a little entertainment?

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
   R’ Dani and Chani Staum

720 Union Road • New Hempstead, NY 10977 • (845) 362-2425

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW
Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead
Social Worker, Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch/Ashar


          Rabbi Emanuel Feldman relates the story about Brad, a Jewish teenager raised by irreligious parents in the city. One summer his parents sent him off to be with his Orthodox grandparents in the countryside. Throughout the summer his Bubby and Zayde instilled within him an appreciation for the beauty of a Torah life. He kept Shabbos, ate Kosher, prayed three times a day, and put on tefillin each morning. On the final day of his summer vacation Brad’s parents arrived to bring him home. With tears in his eyes he placed his hand on the mezuzah, kissed it, and called out, “Goodbye G-d! I’ll see you next year!”
          The question is whether this pitiful anecdote is more familiar than we would like to believe. As the holidays of awe and repentance, followed by joy and celebration, come to an end and life resumes its routine, do we too proverbially ‘place a hand on the mezuzah’ and subconsciously think, “Goodbye G-d! See you next Elul”?
          In a similar vein, Rabbi Sholom Shwadron zt’l[2] remarked that the Satan is well aware that during the days of awe he will not be successful in deterring Klal Yisroel from repentance and spiritual passion. So he bides his time. He thinks to himself: “Elul and Tishrei are yours; but as soon as Cheshvan comes, you’re mine!”
So how do we combat his wily plot? How can we hold on to all we have worked so arduously to achieve during the months of Elul and Tishrei?

Someone once met Rabbi Mendel Kaplan zt’l after Yom Tov and cordially asked him how his Yom Tov was. Rav Mendel simply shrugged, “I don’t know.” To the man’s perplexed look Reb Mendel explained, “Come back to me in six months. Then I’ll know how my Yom Tov was!”
Our Yomim Tovim are not mere holidays and vacations. Rather they are unique times of spiritual service and internal meditation, when a Jew reflects upon the greatness of his Creator and yearns to become closer to Him.
Every Yom Tov has its own unique blessing infusing us with spiritual vitality to endure the challenges of the year. This is the meaning of the prayer we say on Yom Tov, “והשיאנו ה' אלקינו את ברכת מועדיך - Hashem our G-d may You elevate us to ‘carry’ the blessing of your holidays.” We pray that when the Yom Tov physically exits it leaves behind an indelible imprint on our souls. In a similar vein, Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt’l would quip that one who says ’Yom Tov is over’ has missed the point of Yom Tov.
This is the message Rabbi Mendel was conveying, “Ask me at the end of the year how much the Yom Tov moved me and how much of its blessing I was able to retain for that is the only barometer to know how Yom Tov was.”

 It must be noted however, that this is not a novel concept. In fact, it goes back to the genesis of time for Adam Harishon himself was culpable of this error. After eating from the Tree of Knowledge, the verse relates that Adam become cognizant of the fact that he was unclothed. At that point G-d called out to him, (3:9) “Ayeka- Where are you?”
 The Maharal explains that when the verse states that Adam realized he was unclothed it does not mean physically but spiritually. He had one commandment to fulfill, i.e. not to eat from the fruit of that tree, and he was now bereft of that mitzvah. When G-d called out to him, “Ayeka,” he was lamenting Adam’s pitfall, “Adam, what has happened to you? You were in a state of pristine purity. You stood before me in unblemished holiness. But now you have sullied yourself with sin. How could you have allowed this to happen to you?”
Yalkut Me’am Loez notes that it was this same complaint that G-d had to Klal Yisroel some three and a half thousand years later at the time of the destruction of the first Bais Hamikdash. The prophet Yirmiyahu cried out “Eicha”. The word ‘Eicha’ is composed of the same Hebrew letters as ‘Ayeka’. In essence, G-d’s complaint to Klal Yisroel was the same as His complaint to Adam, “My children, where are you? How could you have fallen into such a sad and denigrated state?”

Chazal say that the Satan becomes ‘confused’ through the blowing of the shofar and the shaking of the lulav. Satan’s greatest prosecution of Klal Yisroel is that that their service to G-d is without feeling or emotion, but only out of rote and habit. But when he witnesses the overwhelming zeal and burning passion of Klal Yisroel to perform these mitzvos he becomes befuddled and his prosecution is negated. But the Satan is a keen and resilient warrior, and he waits…

Perhaps this is why the month immediately following Tishrei is known as ‘MarCheshvan- Bitter Cheshvan”. Being that the month of Cheshvan possesses no holidays or ‘marked times’ it is deemed a ‘bitter’ month. It is perplexing that the month be given such a harsh title. Perhaps it should more appropriately be called, “Stam Cheshvan- Plain Cheshvan”. Why is it a bitter month?
The Ba’alei Mussar[3] explain that there is no such thing as ‘spiritual stagnancy’. No one remains on the same spiritual level for any period of time. The rule is that if one is not growing, he is inevitably slipping. Klal Yisroel has a unique ability to - not only learn from its triumphs and successes - but also to learn from its downfalls and defeats. Thus, even the days marked as ‘tragic’ days on the Jewish calendar carry special lessons and a specific pathway for growth.
Throughout the year a Jew learns to channel every one of his emotions in a spiritual way. Adar/Purim is a month of laughter while Tisha B’av is a time of hopeful tears. On Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur awe and fear are appropriate while on Succos we learn the art of joy that ultimately manifests itself with the dancing of Simchas Torah. Asarah B’teves is the darkest time of the year when the enemy laid siege around the walls of Jerusalem, reminding us of our need to strengthen our personal fortifications around the proverbial Jerusalem in our hearts. On Tu B’shvat the sap begins climbing the trees representing hope and revival. And so it continues with every month of the year.
The month of Cheshvan however, lacks this mode of unique and specific growth[4]. Because Cheshvan does not have this modality for growth it is deemed as a month of bitterness. When there is such holiness and greatness gained during the previous months that void and now this bitter indeed.  

However, that bitterness can be sweetened. If the month of Cheshvan is a month of internalizing all that we have gained then the month of Tishrei and all of its holidays will not have ended. The holiday spirit will continue to permeate our Torah learning and mitzvah observance. We will not have to answer the painful question of ‘Ayeka’ because we will continue to ascend the ladder of spiritual greatness.
We begin the Torah anew with a renewed sense of dedication and commitment with the taste of Yom Tov still fresh and lingering in our hearts.

[1] This Stam Torah was originally written in 5764 with gratitude in honor of my dear in-laws, who had honored me with ‘Chosson Torah’ on Simchas Torah.
[2] The great Maggid of Yerushalayim
[3] Master Ethicists
[4] The holiness of Shabbos is not unique to Cheshvan as Shabbos is found in every month. Also, Shabbos is not a unique and special mode of growth endemic to one time period of the year. Rather Shabbos is the lifeline and source of holiness for every moment of a Jew’s life.