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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Beshallach

This week's Kinder Torah is dedicated in loving memory of Devora Bas Aharon o"h Mrs. Doris Weiner A Woman of Valor

Mitzvos Are Forever

"What did you get?"

"That Mitzri gave me all of his gold jewelry."

"I got a sack of silver coins."

"We're rich! After all of these years of slave labor in Mitzraim, we are finally getting what we deserve."

"Where is our leader Moshe? Why isn't he taking spoils?"

- - { - - "Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him" (Shemos 13:19). The Tosefta (Sota 4:2) relates that the entire nation was busy gathering spoils from Mitzraim. Except for Moshe. He was busy with mitzvos. He was fulfilling Yosef's directive to take his bones up out of Mitzraim. As the verse states, "The chochom leiv (wise of heart) will take good deeds" (Mishle 10:8). The Malbim zt"l explains this verse to mean that a person is constantly struggling with his yetzer hora. He wants to do mitzvos, which are good for him, yet his yetzer tries to trick him into doing aveyros (sins). A wise hearted man overcomes this desire. One only takes what he truly wants, and the chochom leiv truly wants mitzvos. Therefore, he takes them.

The Keli Yakar offers a fascinating explanation of the words of the verse, "(Moshe took the bones of Yosef) with him". What does a person take with him into the next world? Not his money. Nor his property. Only his mitzvos. That is the only thing that stays with him forever. Moshe took this mitzvah with him into eternity. Perhaps this is why Hashem presented Moshe with this particular mitzvah at that point in time. Because caring to the needs of the departed reminds us of that day when we will all be judged for our mitzvos. The Jewish people needed a reminder of what was truly valuable, at a time when they were chasing after the fleeting pleasures of this world.

Kinderlach . . .

What makes a person truly rich? Gold? Silver? Diamonds? Land? Wrong on all counts. Mitzvos are the most valuable thing that a person can own. Who is a chochom leiv (wise hearted person)? One who takes mitzvos. Where does he take them? Along with him into the next world. Mitzvos are forever.

We Love Shabbos ! ! !

"What time is it Imma?"

"Almost three o'clock Shoshie."

"Wonderful! It's almost time! I'm so excited!"

"What are you excited about, Shoshie? Shabbos is over an hour away."

"But Savta should be coming any minute, Imma. I love her so much! I can't wait for her to arrive!"

"Why don't you go out to meet her, Shoshie?"

"Thank you for the great idea, Imma."

Little Shoshie grabs her coat and runs out the door of the house. She turns the corner next to her house and sees her Savta walking down the path. She jumps with delight and runs to meet her.

"Savta! Savta!"

"Shoshie! What a pleasure to see you!"

Shoshie runs up and give Savta a big fat hug.

"Savta, I love you so much. I love when you come to visit. How long will you be staying?"

"I will be staying for Shabbos, Shoshana, and a little while afterwards. I will go back at night b'ezras Hashem."

"Savta, every minute with you is precious! I want to be with you the whole Shabbos and then walk you to the bus stop tomorrow night when you leave."

"I feel the same way about you, Shoshie. I cherish every minute that we spend together."

Shoshie and her Savta spend the entire Shabbos together. They eat Imma's delicious food, sing zemiros, share Divrei Torah, and talk until late in the night. They get up the next morning and go to the Beis HaKinesses together. After the day meal they go for a nice long walk. The Shabbos is truly an oneg (pleasure) for both of them.

Alas, the day ends and Shoshie's Abba makes havdalah. The family sits down to eat a nice Melave Malka, and then it is time for Savta to go.

"Shoshie, I am going to miss you."

"Savta, please let me walk you to the bus stop. I want to spend time with you until the last minute!"

"Only if Abba and Imma approve, Shosh."

"You may go with Savta, Shoshie. Just be careful."

Shoshie walks with her beloved Savta up the street to the bus stop. They wait for the bus to come. It pulls up to the stop, and Shoshie gives her Savta one last hug."

"Shalom, Savta! I miss you already."

"Shalom, Shoshie dear. I will be back again soon, b'ezras Hashem."

And so Savta leaves. Shoshie watches longingly as the bus pulls away, with Savta waving out the window.

This story is a parable to how we should feel about the Shabbos. The source is a verse in this week's parasha. "Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbos to Hashem" (Shemos 16:23). The Baal HaTurim points out that the words "shabboson shabbas" precede the word "kodesh." This indicates that we should add from the chol (non-holy time before Shabbos) onto the kodesh (holy day of Shabbos). We should accept and welcome the Shabbos before the Heavenly Kedusha actually arrives. Similarly in parashas Vayakhel (Shemos 35:2) the verse states, "kodesh shabbas shabboson." We should add onto the end of Shabbos by extending the kedusha into the week.

In the parable Shoshie's Savta represents the Shabbos Queen. We should be as excited about the coming of Shabbos as Shoshie is about Savta's arrival. We should go out to meet the Shabbos Queen by accepting the kedusha of Shabbos early, before the sunset. Similarly, we should extend the departure of Shabbos by extending our third meal and our Maariv prayers. This is the proper way to cherish and honor Shabbos.

Kinderlach . . .

The Shabbos Queen is our honored guest. Keep her with us as long as possible! Show Hashem and yourselves how much you love and cherish her. Run out to meet her by accepting her kedusha early. Extend her visit at the end of the holy day. This idea is expressed in the zemira (song) "Kol Mekadesh Shvii." "Those who seek Hashem, the descendants of Avraham His beloved one; delay the departure of Shabbos and hasten its arrival. They are happy to guard (its holiness) and to make its eiruv. This is the day that Hashem made! Let us rejoice and be happy!"

Kinder Torah Copyright 2011 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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