Rabbi Staum from Stamtorah
Rabbi YY Jacobson related that, even though he travels a lot, after a personal experience a few years ago, he has a very different perspective about travel generally.
In his words: “A few years ago, I was heading to Ottawa for a speaking engagement. I arrived at the airport with plenty of time, but soon enough the flight was delayed, and then delayed again.
After some time I came to the realization that there was no way I was going to make it there for the talk.
“I called the Rabbi who had hired me and explained to him the predicament. He was insistent that I had to figure out a way. “There are so many people coming to hear you…” I apologized a few times, but there was nothing I could do.
After I hung up the phone, my mind was still racing, trying to think of any way I could pull it off, when I noticed an elderly chassid sitting nearby calmly learning from a sefer. I sat next to him and we began schmoozing. I asked him where he was heading, and he replied that he was heading to Ottawa to be sandek and his grandson’s bris. I looked at him surprised, “You realize that there is no way we are going to make it there before sunset, and the b’ris has to be before sunset?” The chassid nodded. I couldn’t believe it.
“So you are missing your grandson’s bris, and you’re okay with that?”
The chassid looked at me and calmly replied, “Don’t you know the vort of Reb Chatzkel of Kuzhmir?” I admitted that I didn’t, and so he continued: “Reb Chatzkel explained that every morning we recite the beracha thanking Hashem, “hameichein mitzadei gaver – Who prepares the footsteps of man.” If one recites that beracha and doesn’t think to himself that wherever he ends up that day, and in whatever situation he finds himself in, is exactly where G-d wants him to be, has recited a beracha levatala!
“I wanted very much to be in Ottawa for my grandson’s bris, and I had planned on being there. But I said that beracha this morning, and now I see that Hashem didn’t want me to be there, so I have accepted it.””
If we could truly live by that mantra, imagine how much frustration, anger, and impatience we could eliminate from our lives. The challenge is that we usually cannot see how Hashem has prepared our footsteps, and what the plan is.
G-d prepares our footsteps each day. Our task is to walk in those footsteps that He has lovingly and uniquely charted for each one of us.
In 1905, Friedrich, a native of Kallstadt, Bavaria, traveled to America to make some money. After a few years he sought to return to his hometown where his wife had remained. He wrote a letter to Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, pleading with him to allow him to return. The prince denied his request, as punishment for not fulfilling his responsibility to serve in the Bavarian military forces, when he went to America. Because of that, he had been stripped of his Bavarian citizenship and was barred re-entry.
Friedrich was forced to return to America. At the time he was undoubtedly quite dejected because of it.
This coming Friday, January 20, 2017, Friedrich’s grandson will be sworn in as the 45th president on the United States. How different would things be if Prince Luitpold had acceded to Friedrich Trump’s request!