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Rabbi Schreier's Blog

03/15/2020 09:03:49 PM


Ashie Schreier

Man plans and God laughs. We all know this statement to be true, but living through it so clearly certainly is humbling. We planned on having a scholar in residence and we certainly planned to be in Shul, but Hashem had and continues to have other plans. Rav Soloveitchik, points out that when we face tough times, we don’t ask למה, why, rather, we ask למה, which means, for what. While all of you know very clearly that I am not a נביא and can't tell you why this is happening, I want to discuss some of my reflections from what has been an absolutely wild week:

1. We just read about one of the biggest sins ever committed in our history, the עגל הזהב. We were just given the לוחות which not only had the 10 commandments, but also represented the entire תורה. משה comes down and sees what's happening and realizes he needs to do something to make this stop and show that if we are struggling with Avoda Zara, the rest of the תורה is useless. Trying to make a point, משה smashes the לוחות which may seem to make things worse, but as a leader, משה felt that’s what was needed at the time. חזל teach that משה was feeling a little bad until Hashem himself told משה that he did a very good thing. Hashem even refers back to this when discussing the greatness of משה! משה had to make a decision that seems very tough, but he was able to keep the bigger picture in mind. Many Rabbis were faced with very tough choices this past שבת. On the one hand, we need תפילות now more than ever and the power of a congregation cannot be underestimated. Yet, we know the number one priority is to keep people safe and healthy. Even risking it in a situation like this is not an option. We are very lucky to have real פוסקים and Doctors who are God fearing Jews who help guide everyone in these types of situations. This decision is not made lightly! That being said, for the time being, we should continue not to have big gatherings, and as hard as it is, we should continue davening at home. There is now no excuse for coming late davening and having to skip because everything is waiting for you! As we daven at home, we need to do our best to have the most concentration we can possibly have. Daven out loud if that helps! The world needs our תפילות.

2. Right when we come out of מצרים, the first מצוה we get is Rosh Chodesh. We have discussed that the reason for this is that Hashem was teaching us that we have been slaves for so long and slaves have no control over their time. Hashem is saying to us, you are now free and you have time; what are you going to do with it! The Rabbis teach us that we are supposed to feel בשבילי נברא העולם, the world was created for me. As all of this was happening, I kept thinking of some things that I struggle with and what Hashem could be teaching me. You all know that I am a big sports fan. Seeing how quickly everything turns and gets cancelled was truly amazing. We live in a world with different challenges than we have ever had as a people. There are so many distractions everywhere we turn. It is impossible to focus! We lose sight of what is truly important. What we have access to just from our phones is beyond belief! Perhaps, Hashem is trying to communicate with us. Maybe he is saying, I am going to take away sports, close Broadway, simchas, movies (I know Netflix is still around), all gatherings, have people work from home; there is going to be more ‘free’ time now than people have had; what are you going to do with it? Amazingly, everything can be shut down, but the תורה keeps on going! There is a new פרשה, more גמרא, תנ"ך, הלכה, and מחשבה to learn. There are so many online resources and so many opportunities for growth and it is on us to take advantage of it (we will be having a zoon shiur at 8pm on Wednesday night, details to follow).

I have some more thoughts, but we will leave it at this for now. Everyone should know that I am a phone call away if anyone wants to discuss anything. It can be הלכה, מחשבה, or whatever else you would like. Please stay safe and healthy and I look forward to seeing you all very soon. 

Sun, October 17 2021 11 Cheshvan 5782