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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah ©
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Parashas Beshalach

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Devora Bas Aharon v Mrs. Doris Weiner v A Woman of Valor

The Right Decision

Mr. Gordon glanced nervously at his watch.

"Just a few more minutes left in the workday," he thought. "This is not a good sign. My boss told me that I would receive an answer today. He usually gives good news in the morning. For bad news he waits until the end of the day, just before you go home. Hashem ya'azor (Hashem will help)."

Suddenly there was a knock on the door of Mr. Gordon's office.

"Mr. Gordon, how are you? I'm glad I caught you before you went home. I promised you an answer today."

Mr. Gordon held his breath. Would he receive the job tenure that he had so dearly hoped for? So many thoughts raced through his mind. He prepared himself for the worst.

"Let me shake your hand," the boss said. "I want to be the first one to shake hands with our newest tenured employee."

Mr. Gordon heartily shook his boss' hand. It was really true. The impossible had happened. A 51- year-old oleh-chadash, who had come to settle in Eretz Yisrael with his large family just a few years ago, had received tenure. Mr. Gordon's gratitude to Hashem was boundless. He headed for the bus home, wishing "good evening" to everyone on the way out.

"I'm home dear."

"How was your day at work?"


Mrs. Gordon's heart skipped a beat.

"Do you have any good news for me?"

"The best. I received tenure today."

"Oh Aryeh, this is such a miracle. Hodu Lashem ki tov (Give thanks to Hashem for He is good) [Tehillim 136:1]. Come, let us sit down, and enjoy this moment. Do you remember way back, when we were contemplating making aliya?"

"Yes. Some people did not encourage us. They felt that a person of my age could not make enough parnassa (income) to support a family of our size."

"Yes, we had a difficult decision - between ruchnius (spiritual benefits) and gashmius (material benefits). We knew that in Eretz Yisrael our family would grow in ruchnius. The environment is rich in spirituality. However, the gashmius was uncertain. Back in my home town I was an experienced stock broker, making a good living."

"We knew what the right decision was."

"Yes, we came here to settle. I began looking for a job. A bank was willing to hire me, but I could not trade stocks without a license. It took me three years to get the license. Then Hashem opened another door for me, and I landed a job in the investment department of a top bank. I was able to use all of the skills that I developed over the years."

"That in itself is a miracle."

"Yes, but without tenure, it could all go up in smoke in a minute."

"That's right, and getting tenure at my age is unheard of."

"Almost unheard of. And so we have our next major miracle."

"This just proves the Chofetz Chaim's point on this week's parasha."

"What point is that?"

"When Hashem took the Nation of Israel out of Mitzraim, He had a choice of two routes to travel, ‘the way of the land of the Pelishtim' (Shemos 13:17) or the midbar (desert). The land of the Pelishtim had food; however, it was fraught with spiritual dangers. The Jews were already at the 49th level of tumah (impurity) and would be dragged down even further, being among the idolatrous Pelishtim. The other route, the desert, had no spiritual impurity. However, there was no food to feed two million people."

"What would be with parnassa?"

"That is the question. The Chofetz Chaim zt"l points out that Hashem chose the spiritual route, providing parnassa in a miraculous way. So too, in our lives, we should not make spiritual compromises for the sake of parnassa."

"That is exactly what we did. We took the spiritually rich route. Hashem provided the parnassa in a miraculous way."

"May we always merit to receive His kindness."

Kinderlach . . .

B'ezras Hashem we will have many decisions to make in our lives. The choices will often be between ruchnius and gashmius. Which path will you choose? One path may seem to be paved with gold. However, there are spiritual dangers. Another path may have a wealth of spiritual benefits. However, the gashmius seems uncertain. The Chofetz Chaim illuminates our path. Ruchnius must always be our priority. Hashem will help with the gashmius. We should go "derech hamidbar" (the way of the wilderness), just as our forefathers did. Kinderlach, may you always make the right decisions!

Parasha Questions

In whose merit was the sea split? (Rashi 14:15)

What separated the camp of the Mitzrim from the camp of the Jews? (14:19,20)

What did Hashem do to the Mitzrim in the sea? (14:27 and Rashi)

How does Hashem make war? (15:3 and Rashi)

Were the bodies of the Mitzrim buried? (Rashi 15:12)

How much mun should each person gather (16:16)

What happened to the left over mun in the morning? (16:20) On Shabbos? (16:24)

What was lacking in Refidim? (17:1)

Why did Moshe not rest his hands on pillows? (Rashi 17:12)

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