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Simcha Groffman

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


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Parashas Bo

Yom Shabboson

"What beautiful Shabbos weather, kinderlach."

"Abba, it's raining."

"Yes, kinderlach, isn't it beautiful?"

"I see what you mean, Abba. We really need the rain in Eretz Yisrael. It is a blessing from Hashem, as we say, 'gismei bracha'. The water gives sustenance to every living thing on this earth."

"Exactly, kinderlach. There is also another reason that this weather is beautiful especially on Shabbos. It is mentioned in one of the zemiros."

The children think for a few moments. . .

"Yom Shabboson! It speaks about Shabbos as the day that the yona (dove) found rest after the floodwaters of Noach. The rain reminds us of the flood."

"Excellent, kinderlach. The zemer begins by declaring, 'This day of rest shall not be forgotten. Its memory is like a pleasant fragrance.' We remember Shabbos in several ways. Firstly, we remember that it is the day that the dove found rest. Secondly, the names of the days of the week remind us of Shabbos. They are all called by their numbers beginning with the first day after Shabbos and going up to the sixth day. Lastly, we remember how the mitzvah of Shabbos was given to us at Har Sinai."

"We want to remember everything, Abba. Please explain it all to us."

"My pleasure, kinderlach. 'This day is honored by the faithful ones - parents and children who scrupulously guard it. It is engraved into the two stone tablets from the One Who is All- Powerful and exceedingly strong.

"'Then they all joined together in a covenant - "Na'aseh vi'nishma!" (we will do and we will listen) they said as one. They opened their mouths and called out, "Hashem is One!" Blessed is the One Who gives strength to the weary.' That was the ultimate moment of submission and unity, kinderlach. We were in perfect harmony with each other as we accepted everything that Hashem would command us."

"What an exalted moment, Abba!"

"It is forever etched into our souls, kinderlach. 'He spoke in His Holiness at the mountain from which His teachings would spread worldwide. "Remember and safeguard the seventh day!" All of His other laws should be equally studied. Strengthen your loins and be strong!'"

"We want to be strong Abba, to learn the whole Torah!"

"With that kind of determination you will, kinderlach. Now we come to the last verse, which brings us back to the flood. 'Our nation is compared to wandering stray sheep. We ask Hashem to remember us for His covenant and oath. After the waters of Noach, He swore that He would not bring another all-destructive flood to the world. Therefore, let no evil happenings befall us.'"

"Amen! May we have only good, Abba!"


Kinderlach . . .

Shabbos reminds us of the day when the yona found rest after the floodwaters. So too, we find rest on the holy day. We also remember the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai on Shabbos. We are encouraged to be strong and learn Torah on this day. Finally, we ask Hashem to remember His covenant and not let any evil thing happen to us. Shabbos - a day of remembrance!

The Little Things

"Thank you for taking us on this outing to the botanical gardens, Abba."

"It really is beautiful here, kinderlach. There are so many plants and flowers to see. Each one has a little plaque describing it. What is that small shrub over there?"

"It is called eizov (hyssop)."

"What does the plaque say about the eizov?"

"This small shrub is rather insignificant. It does not have much practical use, being neither tall, beautiful, nor fragrant."

"Insignificant?!? Why, that plaque could not be farther from the truth! This 'insignificant' eizov redeemed Klal Yisrael from Mitzraim!"

"That is incredible. In what way, Abba?"

"It was part of the avodah (service) of the first Korbon Pesach. Bnei Yisrael were instructed to shecht the korbon, then use eizov to spread its blood on the doorposts of the house. When the Angel of Death came at midnight to kill the bechoros (first born), he would skip over those homes with blood on the doorposts. Thus they were saved."

"Amazing, Abba."

"The Medrash Rabba then lists two other mitzvos involving the humble eizov: purification of the metzorah, and burning of the Parah Adumah."

"Wow. The eizov must be very special to be involved in these mitzvos of taharah (purity)."

"It is. Shlomo HaMelech equates it to the mighty cedar in the verse, 'He spoke of the trees from the cedar of Levanon to the eizov which grows out of the wall' (Melachim I 5:13). The Medrash concludes by relating that large and small things are equal before The Almighty. He performs miracles with the smallest things. He used the eizov, the lowliest of trees, to redeem Yisrael."

"We have learned an important lesson today, Abba. Who would have thought that a little bush could be involved in such exalted mitzvos? We must treat even the smallest things with respect. If they are important in the eyes of Hashem, then we must care about them also."

"Kinderlach, I could not have said it better myself."

Kinderlach . . .

Small things can be used for great mitzvos. A few pieces of string can be used to tie tzitzis, which protect us from all aveyros and remind us of all 613 mitzvos. Some oil and wicks can become Shabbos lights, which bring peace into the home. Grapes, which come from a tree that cannot even stand on it own, are used to make wine. We sanctify our Holy Days, weddings, and bris milah over a cup of wine. Water, which costs nothing, was used for the mitzvah of nisuch hamayim in the times of the Beis HaMikdash. This mitzvah brought intense joy to Klal Yisrael on the Chag of Succos. Just flour and water are used to bake the matza that we eat on Pesach. Kinderlach, treat even the smallest thing properly. It may be more important than you think.

Parasha Question:

How many days of darkness were there? (10:21-23 and Rashi)

How many different types of darkness were there? (10:21-23 and Rashi)

What did the Bnei Yisrael do during the darkness? (Rashi 10:22)

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