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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Kedoshim

Difficult People

"Oy, I am so angry at that Mr. Boor. He is just no good!"

The wife was a bit startled by her husband's emotional reaction. He was usually so cool, calm, and collected.

"What's troubling you dear? Can I help with something?"

"You can listen to my story, and help me unburden my heart. That Mr. Boor has hurt me so many times. I am just fed up."

"What did he do to you?"

The husband goes on to describe Mr. Boor's less-than-commendable behavior. The wife listens patiently, careful not to interrupt.

"I see. My dear, I know a little bit about Mr. Boor. Do you mind if I share with you a little tochacha (constructive criticism)?"

"Go right ahead, my dear wife. Tochacha is a mitzvah in this week's parasha. I am anxious to hear my faults so that I can improve upon them."

"Since you mentioned the parasha, my dear, let us look into it. 'You shall judge your fellow Jew correctly' (Vayikra 19:15). Rashi comments that this is the mitzvah of 'dan lecaf zechus' (giving the benefit of the doubt). I know a little bit about Mr. Boor. He has gone through traumatic experiences in his life. They have left him emotionally scarred, which explains his behavior."

"I didn't realize that."

"'Do not hate your brother in your heart' (Vayikra 19:17). One who resents a person for an unjustified reason transgresses this aveyra (sin)."

"Oy vey."

"'Do not bear a grudge' (Vayikra 19:18). One who does not forgive or correct the person who hurt him, rather harbors the feelings of resentment in his heart, commits this sin."

"Rachmana litzlan (May Hashem save us)."

"If a person then degrades someone who hurt him in order to take revenge, he has made two mistakes. He has taken revenge (Vayikra 19:18), and he has spoken loshon hora (Vayikra 19:16)."

"Oy va voy va voy. What have I done? How can I ever do teshuva on so many aveyros?"

"Very simple. Go to the root of the problem. It all stems from resentment. Turn it around! Love Mr. Boor! The Torah commands us, 'Love your neighbor as yourself' (Vayikra 19:18). When you truly love someone, it becomes impossible to do anything bad to him."

"You are 100% right my dear. However, it is not so easy. He is such a difficult person."

"Can you avoid him?"

"I have tried, but it is just impossible."


"Wonderful? What is so wonderful about being in the company of a difficult person?"

"It is wonderful because it shows that Hashem loves you. He has sent you a big matanah (gift) - a difficult person."

"Can you please explain, my dear? I tend to think that Mr. Boor is a curse, not a gift."

"Rav Avigdor Miller zt"l spoke a lot about this subject. Difficult people bring out the best in us. They help us refine our middos (character traits). They teach us savlanut (patience), rachmonus (mercy), and understanding. They teach us to control our anger, and to perform acts of chessed (kindness) without expecting any reward. We should thank Hashem for sending these difficult people, and bless the people themselves for their role in helping us to become great."

"I see. I never thought about Mr. Boor in those terms. I have to change my way of thinking. When I do that, it will be easy for me to love Mr. Boor. He is doing me a big favor. He is helping me grow. The temporary discomfort is a small price to pay for the eternity that I gain by coming to a higher madrayga (spiritual level)."

"My dear, you've got it right. May Hashem help you to become a big tsaddik!"


Kinderlach . . .

Love Hashem's children. Especially the difficult ones. Do you have a hard time with a friend, neighbor, classmate, teacher, or relative? Wonderful! Hashem loves you! He is sending you a big opportunity to improve yourself. Have patience for this person. Understand him. Have mercy on him. Help him if you can. You are really helping yourself. Love him and bless him for all the good that he is bringing you. Difficult people are a blessing in disguise.

Your King and Queen

"This line is moving so slowly, Avi."

"I know, Chaim. However, it is worthwhile to have patience. After all we are going to see a real live king and queen."

"Can you believe it? It is very rare in our world. However, the foreign king and queen are visiting our country, and they have decided to receive the public. We may never have such an opportunity. Look, we are at the head of the line."

The guard motioned to Avi and Chaim.

"You may enter the king's chambers."

Avi and Chaim slowly walked in. The king and queen were surrounded by servants who were ready and waiting to fulfill their command. "Bring the queen a glass of cold water," the king said to a servant. The subject practically ran to the next room, and within a few seconds came back with a crystal pitcher of ice water and a glass on a silver tray. Avi and Chaim were speechless. The awe and splendor that surrounded the royal couple was a moving experience. Everyone spoke to the king and queen with such reverence. They waited anxiously to fulfill their commands. Nothing gave them greater pleasure. To go against their will, or cause them tsar (discomfort) in any way was unthinkable.

"Every man shall fear his mother and father (Vayikra 19:3)." Rav Shmuel Hominer, in his sefer, Eved HaMelech describes the mitzvah of revering our mother and father. One should equate his father and mother to a king and queen. He should be extremely afraid of going against their will. Rather, everything that they tell him to do should be fulfilled like the word of the king who rules over him. He should fulfill it perfectly, down to the last detail. Why? Because The Almighty commanded him to do so. One who causes tsar to his father or mother is considered as if he gave tsar to Hashem.

Kinderlach . . .

We love our parents and the love us very much. We live together in the same home. Therefore, it may be easy to forget the mitzvah of fearing them, because we are so comfortable with them. Do not make this mistake. Hashem commanded you to fear them. Stand up for them. Do not interrupt them. Obey their instructions and requests. Do not cause them tsar in any way. They are not just anybody. They are your father and mother - the king and queen of your lives.

Parasha Questions:

Which parent does a child fear more? Honor more? (Rashi 19:3)

Until when do you have to pay a daily worker his wage? (19:13 and Rashi)

What is done with the fruit of the forth year? (19:24 and Rashi)

Could the Beis HaMikdash be built on Shabbos? (Rashi 19:30)

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