Since our Summer 2019 Midtown Manhattan Reunion was hosted at 5WPR in this very notable Manhattan address at 230 Park Avenue, thought it would be appropriate to learn some life lessons from this building and its history. Here are a few messages:
DRIVE THROUGH Notable for Park Avenue driving through the building: המלך פורץ גדר לעשות לו דרך Talmud says that a king may put roads as needed without having to circumvent properties. In life, this sort of reflects Rebbe Maharash’s teaching of לכתחילה אריבער which in short means: Don’t let obstacles get in your way, sail right over/past them.
THE NAME HELMSLEY Part of the conditions of sale in 1998 is that the building would not be renamed again (first NY Central, then NY General, now Helmsley). Think of this in terms of the Midrash that the Jews in Egypt לא שינו את שמם didn’t change their names & identity. In our holiday prayers we exclaim ושמך הגדול והקדוש עלינו קראת how excited & delighted we are to carry G-d’s great name upon us. Now, Helmsley herself was known as “The Queen of Mean”, but the lesson is still valid despite her reputation. Perhaps, years after her passing, our gathering & learning here can be of some merit.
32ND FLOOR Aside for nice views, 32 is also significant in Judaism for it spells לב Hebrew for heart. Interestingly, in Tanya (Chassidic book of Alter Rebbe, first Rebbe of Chabad) the 32nd (and perhaps best-known) chapter is all about a deeper sense(s) of Ahavat Yisrael, love of our fellow.
CLOCKS & WATCHES As these buildings were originally built by New York Central Railroad, the grand clocks are a big part of the motif. It’s different nowadays, but back then there was a relationship between grand clocks and personal watches, perhaps you could say community vs. individual. Ideally, clocks and watches should both have the same time, (unlike individuals who bring their own unique flavor & style) its best for them to work together in snyc and harmony.