Friday, October 25, 2019

Dear Stam Torah Faithful עמו״ש

Dear Stam Torah Faithful עמו״ש,

I began writing Stam Torah when I was still a bochur (before I was married). During the years when I was in Fordham graduate school pursuing my master’s in social work, I took a hiatus from sending the weekly divrei Torah but began again soon afterwards.
In recent years, I edited and enhanced the divrei Torah sent years ago and those were the ones I emailed. Last year however, I wrote new Stam Torahs each week, based on derashos I was privileged to deliver during my years as rabbi at Kehillat New Hempstead.
I don’t know what the future will hold, but for 5780 I will no longer be writing and disseminating Stam Torah on the parsha each week. The reason is so that I can more fully devote myself to a beautiful and exciting project that I embarked upon last year: The Gemara relates that tefilla requires constant Chizuk. If that’s true for seasoned scholars, how more more true is it for the younger generation who aren’t too familiar with the words in the siddur and have a hard time relating to tefillah generally. This is an issue we need to address constantly because tefillah is such a central component in the life of a Jew, and we spend so much time each day devoted to it. It is the basis of our hopes during challenging times and a vital part of our daily routine.
Last year I suggested to Rabbi Aryeh Stechler, Rosh Yeshiva of our yeshiva, Heichal HaTorah, that we undertake the arduous challenge of producing a siddur, specifically written for a yeshiva student growing up in contemporary American society. Doing so would entail composing a new translation in a vernacular familiar to adolescents, as well as comments and insights that can inspire and help the reader connect to the ancient and yet ever applicable and eternal words of the siddur. The siddur would also include a section of insights from the talmidim and rabbeim of the yeshiva. Rabbi Stechler excitedly embraced and strongly encouraged the project.
The first edition of the siddur was produced and printed in time for the Yeshiva’s annual dinner last June. It was an exciting milestone and a beautiful accomplishment.
This year I have undertaken to enhance, edit, and revise the siddur to produce a finished product iy”H later this year. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done so that it can be published professionally and serve the purpose we hope it will.
Therefore, this year as I invest time into the Heichal siddur (“The Walden Edition: Siddur Moshe Aaron”), I hope iy”H to send out weekly insights on our daily tefillos - perhaps some weeks it will consist of some short thoughts and other weeks it may contain one longer essay.
It is my fervent hope that it will be a chizuk for all of us in our davening, and ultimate quest to deepen our connection with Hashem.

Please note that the archives from the many years of Stam Torah on each parsha are posted at
I also plan to iyh continue sending out the Rabbi’s Musings column each week.
Thank you for your ongoing chizuk and feedback, which I truly value and appreciate.

Dani Staum


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