Amitzin and Shoafim: Special Paper Towel D’var Torah
Our chanichim (campers) in Amitzim and Shoafim were treated this past Shabbat to a unique, creative D’var Torah delivered by Didi Kalmanofsky. Didi joined the Tzevet (staff) this past fall; read more about Didi here:
The D’var Torah was accompanied by Didi’s original art, drawn on a roll of paper towels that he deliberately unrolled so the artwork matched the progression of the D’var Torah. The chanichim were spellbound. You could hear a pin drop. Envision a roll of paper towels unfolding as you are invited to follow along with the pictures (above) as you read the story.
Once upon a time [clock], there was a fox named Gary. [fox]. Gary lived underneath a lovely tree [tree] in the woods near Palmer, Massachusetts. [Map with Palmer starred]. He was a fox like any other, he liked books [book], baseball [baseball] and Barry Manilow [Barry Manilow]. All foxes love Barry Manilow. It’s a well-known fact.
Anyways, Gary loved his life in the forest, but he still had a dream. Ever since he was a little cub [Cubs logo] he wanted to be an astronaut. He got his bachelors in applied math [complicated equation] and then went on to a PhD from Stanford [Stanford Logo]. Go Cardinal.
Gary’s favorite planet was Mercury [mercury]. He had always been a big fan. His 8th birthday party [cake] was Mercury themed. He collected fun thermometers [thermometer]. He even drove a Mercury [logo]. And when he was a recent graduate, he appeared before a joint session of congress to argue for a Mission to Mercury. They got the green light [light] and started working on the mission.
It was really hard to plan a mission to Mercury. There are lots of interesting challenges. For starters, Mercury is really close to the sun so it is really, really hot [thermometer with high temperature]. Also, it doesn’t rotate around every day, so sometimes you spend like a full day and a half in sunlight [lightbulb]. That makes it really hard to sleep! [Sleep emoji].
Still, Gary had a dream and a dream’s a dream. If he wanted to go to Mercury, he was going to Mercury. He trained and trained [train]. They consulted star charts [star], and horoscopes [astrology sign]. Gary was a Pisces! They set a date for the mission. [11/22/63]. All that was left to do was pick who was going to go. Gary had been with the mission all the way through, since the very beginning. The team picked him, and he was bursting with happiness [happy emoji].
That night, Gary went the Dol’r Bill’s Bowling [bowling], a Bowling alley near Danbury, Connecticut to celebrate. They brought him a nice cake and he had a great time bowling with his friends. Then, in the ninth frame, disaster struck. Gary threw out his back trying to bowl a spare. [spare symbol]. He knew he should have talked to the bowling pins instead. He went to the doctor [doctor], but there was nothing that could be done. He would have to miss the mission to recuperate.
Gary would admit he let a tear or two go [crying emoji]. It’s alright to cry, crying gets the sad out of you. He went back to his team. They waited with bated breath to see what he was going to say.
Pause. [pause sign]. You might be wondering why I’m telling you this story. Well, we’re Jews, and once a week, Jews read from the Torah. [Torah]. This week we’re reading Parashat Pinchas. In the Parsha, Moshe goes up with God to a mountain. God shows Moshe the land of Israel and tells Moshe that he won’t get to see it. In that moment, Moshe had a choice. And it’s the same choice that Gary has.
It’s okay to have dreams, and it’s okay to be disappointed when they don’t come true. That’s normal. We can’t all be athletes, or senior programming staff and Boston Area Liaisons, or Beyonce. We are who we are. We should love who we are, and be happy with the lives that we have, since we don’t really get to be anyone else. But we can still want things.
Moshe and Gary both loved their lives, and they still had dreams. Those dreams didn’t come true. When Moshe’s dream didn’t come true, he asked God to make sure that someone else would lead the people, and so even if he didn’t get to go to Israel, the rest of his people did.
Let’s return to the Gary story. [play]
Gary looked at his team, and took a deep breath and said:
“Hey guys, I can’t go to Mercury. Can one of you do it? We have to help the people with science!”
His team cheered and decided on Hannah, the snail [snail] to go.
Gary was proud of his decision.
I am proud of his decision too.