Rabbi’s Musings & Amusings

Perfectly Unbalanced

Perhaps the most underappreciated honor that one can receive in shul is to do hagbaha - raising...

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 As I was walking to shul on Motza’ei Shabbos this week, I saw that the moon was clearly shining. That meant that we would be able to recite Kiddush L’vanah after Maariv. I turned to the person walking with me, pointed upwards, and remarked, “a sheiner levanah,” Yiddish for “a beautiful moon.” I then added, “Can you imagine a non-Jew ever making such a comment?” That’s not to say that a non-Jew can’t appreciate the beauty of the moon. However, they do not have the same appreciation to “bless the moon,” which is considered equivalent to greeting the Sh’chinah itself. That feeling of excitement expressed in the words “a sheiner levanah” is unique to those who observe mitzvos.

Sukkos is an all-encompassing holiday – soul, emotion, and body. Our souls are rejuvenated with the feeling of unparalleled and joyous connection with Hashem. We are emotionally uplifted and swept away by the season of joy. As for our bodies, the sukkah envelops our entire being, our stomachs are nourished by delicious holiday meals, and the Four Species symbolize our spine, heart, eyes, and mouth.

I remove my kittel from the closet every six months. Before Pesach, I take it out to wear at the Sedarim and to daven Tal on the first day of Pesach. Then, at the end of Elul, I take it out to wear on Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Hoshana Rabbah, and when davening Geshem on Sh’mini Atzeres during Musaf.

They say that youth is the greatest gift; it’s a pity that it’s wasted on the young.

Periodically, at the dinner table my wife will ask in her motherly sing-song voice, “So let’s see who is eating nicely? Is Michael eating nicely? What about Gavriel? Ooooh, Dovid is eating sooo nicely.”

Teaching is never easy. It requires time, patience, technique, and a lot of caring. Then there’s also preparation, marking, parental feedback, and dealing with issues that arise. Teaching with a mask is that much harder. Aside from the discomfort of wearing a mask and the challenge of projecting your voice, it’s immeasurably harder to teach when students cannot see the teacher’s mouth and facial expressions. The same is true regarding the teacher’s inability to see his or her students’ facial expressions. It also makes it much harder to hear what they are saying. We don’t realize how much we read lips in daily conversations.