Wet Feet

Rabbi's Thoughts
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This past Sunday, the county hosted its annual “Please vote for your local politician, who is trying to get re-elected” autumn Fair. Held in a local park, the fair features hay rides, various blow-up rides/slides, cotton candy, and some refreshments. This year there was an outdoor “Lipa Schmeltzer concert” as well.

As we’ve done the last few years, the Staum family set out for the fair. Being that the fair is always well attended, we had to park on the road past the park. When we arrived at the field there was a bit of a ravine where the water from the previous night’s rain had collected. Either we would have to walk all the way to the end of the field and come back around, or we could try to cut across the streaming puddle. I opted for the latter. As can be imagined, my efforts proved futile, as my Olympic jump landed me ankle deep in muddy water. I felt pretty ridiculous slopping around in my wet socks and filthy shoes as I waited a few minutes for the rest of my dry-socked family to rejoin me.

The event reminded me of a classic quote I once saw: “G-d please grant me patience, and give it to me now!”

In our rapid-paced, technologically-stimulating society, we have little patience to learn the virtue of patience. I often think about this when I am sitting in traffic or standing on a long line in a store. As annoying as traffic and lines are, it is an opportunity to work on developing one’s patience. [And if you have your children with you while you are waiting, you get to work on having a lot of patience…]

When the young Jewish Nation departed from Egypt at the time of the exodus, the Torah states that G-d purposely did not lead them through the land of the Philistines, “because it was close” (Shemos 13:17). The factor of convenience was itself sufficient reason not to traverse the land of the Philistines.  Those who would accept the Torah, and subsequently enter and conquer the Holy Land, had to master the attribute of patience.

The glory of the Jewish People only comes with patience. One cannot become proficient in Torah, maintain Eretz Yisroel, and most importantly master one’s self, unless he has sufficient patience with others, as well as himself.

Getting back to my story, my parents met us at the fair. At one point my mother whisked away her grandchildren and my wife was talking to a friend. That gave my father and I a few minutes to talk. As we were conversing, my father mentioned that he felt a bit uncomfortable. I asked him what was wrong. I noticed that his shoes were very dirty, as he replied, “My socks are all wet.”

Well, at least I know where I get it from.   

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead,as well as a rebbe and the Guidance Counselor at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, and Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor. Rabbi Staum is a division head at Camp Dora Golding. His email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. His website is www.stamtorah.info