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is fully operational and the spectators will be treated to a breathtaking display. The streetlamp, however, is lit each and every night, and is bound to burn out at some point. Because it is so normal and ordinary, the people in charge are less likely to ensure its ongoing functioning. Akedat Yitzhak was like the “fireworks,” a dazzling, once-in-history display of awesome faith and personal strength. The purchase of the Machpelah Cave, meanwhile, was the “streetlamp,” an ordinary bump in the road. And as we can all personally attest, these common bumps can easily cause us to “burn out” and lose our cool. The fireworks almost always work. When we are faced with a significant test, Heaven forbid, we recognize the need to gather our strength and rise to the occasion. But the streetlamps, the everyday challenges of life, can so easily rattle us. And this is why we were given the Torah which tells of our righteous patriarchs and matriarchs from whom we can learn and gain inspiration, helping us to overcome both the big and small tests that life sends us.
Smiling on a Bad Day There is another aspect of Avraham’s final test which conveys a powerful lesson that can and must be applied every LUXURY day of our lives. S D BRAN Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (1910DESIGNER 1995) was once walking in the hallway UP in a Jerusalem hospital when he saw a student of his. He greeted the student 904 Avenue U, Brooklyn, NY 11230 with his characteristic warmth, and asked Tel.: 718-513-3708 Store hours: Sunday 11-6 • Monday to Friday 10-7 •Saturday close why he was in the hospital. The student jubilantly informed the rabbi that his wife had just given birth. Rav Shlomo Zalman’s face lit up, and he wished the of colors, as opposed to the “boring” streetlamp that produces just young man an emphatic “mazal tov” and hugged him. a small yellow light. On the other hand, fireworks light up the sky This would not have been a noteworthy incident if not for the fact for just a few brief moments, and to begin with are only displayed that Rav Shlomo Zalman was in the hospital because he had just been on the Fourth of July. The simple streetlamp, by contrast, remains lit notified that his wife passed away. throughout the night, every night, and plays a crucial role in making The rabbi was asked why he expressed such joy and enthusiasm the street navigable and safe. just after learning about the loss of his beloved wife. He explained, And which of these two forms of illumination is more likely “It’s not his problem that I’m in pain.” to malfunction – the fireworks display over the Hudson River on One of the remarkable characteristics of the tzadikim is the July 4th, or the streetlamp in front of our home? Preparations for control they exert over their emotions. They experience the same the fireworks display get underway many weeks in advance of strong feelings as the rest of us, but they do not allow those feelings July 4th, and every precaution is taken to ensure that the system to control them. Instead, they control their emotions. Rav Shlomo