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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Kedoshim

The House of Hashem

"Did you hear the news about Mr. Finagler?"

"No, what happened to him?"

"He has been appointed Secretary of State."

"I am sure he is very happy."

"He certainly is. He has been maneuvering in political circles for years to get an appointment like this. He works day and night going to all of the party's functions - dinners, campaigns, and fund raising events. He pushes himself to the limit doing 'favors' for the right people, trying to gain their approval. He has one singular goal in mind - to get close to the president. Now, with all of his efforts, he has reached a pinnacle. He is the Secretary of State."

"It is amazing what people will do to get close to someone in a powerful position. They are willing to sacrifice tremendous amounts of time and effort. Mr. Finagler should be an inspiration for all of us."

"Really? A politician? Inspiration? I would have thought the opposite. The Mishna in Pirkei Avos (1:10) tells us to hate being in a position of power, and warns us not to be friendly with government authorities. Another Mishnah (2:3) heeds us to be careful around government officials. They only act to serve their own interests. Mr. Finagler is the epitome of someone acting only for his own interest."

"True. However, I was speaking about another aspect of his rise to political power. The Chofetz Chaim in his sefer 'Torah Ore,' chapter seven, uses the politician to illustrate an important concept. He begins by elucidating a verse in this week's parasha. 'You shall be holy, for I Hashem am holy; and I have separated you from the nations to be Mine' (Vayikra 20:26). A person's madrayga (spiritual level) in olam habo is dependent upon how much holiness he acquires in this world. When he sanctifies himself, by learning Torah and performing mitzvos, he brings himself closer to Hashem's holiness, as the verse states, 'You shall be holy, for I Hashem am holy.' How does this work? The Almighty draws us as close to Him as we want to be. As we become holier, He responds in kind by drawing us nearer to His Holiness. The Chofetz Chaim adds, 'You should know that bringing one's soul close to the Almighty is the greatest possible pleasure that can possibly exist in the universe. This is what Dovid HaMelech requested (Tehillim 27:4). "One thing I ask of Hashem; that I shall seek. May I dwell in the house of Hashem all the days of my life, to behold the sweetness of Hashem and to visit His Sanctuary." To sit in Hashem's house and behold His sweetness is the greatest pleasure of eternal delight. We have no way to measure its value.'" "That alone should be motivation enough to get close to Hashem."

"You are right, however, the Chofetz Chaim concludes with the parable of the politician. We see how he works day and night to try to advance himself closer to the president. He pursues even the smallest possibility of success with all of his might. If this is how a person conducts himself with an earthly ruler, who is mere flesh and blood, how much more so should we make our way closer and closer to the King of Kings! We must learn His Torah and perform His mitzvos with all of our might, all of the time. That is the way to move up the ladder into Hashem's inner circle. He will respond in kind by coming closer to us, and in so doing give us the greatest pleasure possible in the universe."

Kinderlach . . .

Who wants pleasure? Everyone. Where is the greatest pleasure? At the top. The top of what? The top rung of the spiritual ladder to success. There you will find the ultimate closeness to the Almighty. Just as the politician puts all of his effort into climbing the political ladder to success, so too we must put our full strength into ascending the spiritual ladder. Just as each step brings the politician closer to the president, so too each mitzvah brings us closer to Hashem. Get to the top, kinderlach, and fulfill Dovid HaMelech's ambition. Dwell in the house of Hashem all the days of your life, to behold the sweetness of Hashem and to visit His Sanctuary.


"A man shall fear his mother and his father" (Vayikra 19:3). The root word yira (fear) describes the reverence that a person must have for his parents. The Sefer Charedim (9:26) explains that this is a very strong word, used to describe the awe that a person must have for the King of Kings. An absolute ruler can send a person to his death. Therefore, one is in awe of him and fears for his life. This is the same reverence that one should have for his parents.

Imagine a son who has become a very successful person. He is the head of a well- known organization. He is wearing the finest clothing and presiding at a very important meeting. Into this meeting walk his father and mother. Without hesitation, they approach their son and begin to tear his clothes. Can you imagine the humiliation? Next they proceed to hit him on the head and spit in his face. Their son is in utter disgrace, the laughingstock of the entire organization. Yet he cannot show the slightest sign of anger or take revenge in any way. Rather he must be quiet out of fear of Hashem and the awe of His Greatness (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 240:3). For the Torah equates the fear of parents to the fear of the Holy One.

Kinderlach . . .

We should never suffer humiliation and embarrassment from our parents. That is the ultimate test of fearing them. We face many smaller tests every day. We fulfill the mitzvah of fearing them by not sitting or standing in their regular place, not contradicting or verifying their words, and not calling them by name. In our days, we are familiar with fear. Danger is all around us. Use that emotion constructively, by directing it toward those whom we must really fear. Our parents and Hashem.

Parasha Questions:

What terrible things happen to a man who gives his son to the idol Molech? (20:2,3)

Name three types of forbidden mixtures (19:19)

How do we describe a dayan (Rabbinical judge) who corrupts the din (Torah law)? (Rashi 19:15)

How do we honor a chochom? (Rashi 19:32)


Kinder Torah
Shvii Shel Pesach

Dedicated in Loving Memory of our Sister
Irene Galinsky o"h
by her sisters
Shirley Domb
Judy Chaitowitz

Our Protector

"Look at that Mitzri; he sank straight to the bottom of the Yam Suf like a piece of lead. He drowned instantly."

"I recognize him. He was my taskmaster, and he treated me fairly decently. That other one is not having it so easy. He is going down slower, like a stone."

"He was not so good to the Jews, but there were worse ones than him. Look at that one over there."

"He is going up and down over and over again like a piece of straw. He is choking, gagging, and struggling, not drowning so fast. He was very cruel to the slaves. Look at how Hashem is punishing him."*

Kinderlach . . .

The verse states: "Hashem will make war for you, and you will remain silent" (Shemos 14:14). The Mechilta comments that Hashem's fighting was not limited to that one time. Rather, throughout history, He has waged war against our enemies. The Meshech Chochma explains that Hashem was forced (so to speak) to fight here for two reasons. Firstly, the Jewish people did teshuva. Secondly, they had a claim against Him, 'Why did You take us out of Mitzrayim to die here in the wilderness?' Kinderlach, even if we do not have such a claim today, Hashem in His Infinite Kindness will continue to fight for us. In all our battles, large and small, we have the #1 Ally on our side. He is the Universe's One and Only Superpower - The Almighty, King of Kings. Do His Will and He will fight for you, just like He did at Kriyas Yam Suf.

*(Based on Rashi - Shemos 15:5.)

Shir HaShirim

"The song of songs, which is Shlomo's" (Shir HaShirim 1:1).

"What a beautiful song, Abba."

"Shlomo HaMelech's words have warmed Jewish hearts and souls for centuries, Chaim. Who is not moved by this emotional song between Hashem and His chosen nation, Israel."

"Our Rebbe taught us that the entire shir is a parable describing Hashem's great love for us. He left us with a question to discuss at home."

"What is the question, Chaim?"

"Why do we read Shir HaShirim on the Shabbos of Pesach? Every one of the five megillos is read on a specific day of the year. The subject of the megilla is tied into the theme of the day. What is the connection between Shir HaShirim and Pesach?"

"That is an excellent question, Chaim. You have already answered half of it yourself. Shir HaShirim is all about love - Hashem's love for Klal Yisrael. Therefore, it should be read at a time when The Almighty's love and affection are most apparent. That time is Pesach."

"Abba, I always understood that Pesach is the time of our freedom, when we were taken out of the slavery of Mitzrayim. We also received the foundations of our emunah on Pesach. The great miracles of the makkos (plagues) and the Kriyas Yam Suf etched emunah into our hearts forever. How did Hashem demonstrate His love for us on Pesach?"

"You have already alluded to the answer, Chaim. The Nesivos Shalom (Volume 2, p. 244) compares the Shalosh Regalim to a marriage. The first step is the eirusen (engagement), when the chosson chooses the kallah. The next step is the nissuin, when the chosson and kallah are wed under the chuppah. The third step is when the chosson brings the kallah to his home and they begin to live their life together. Pesach is compared to the eirusen, Shavuos to the nissuin, and Succos to bringing the kallah home. On Pesach, Hashem (the chosson) chose Klal Yisrael (the kallah) from amongst all of the nations to be His chosen people. He took us away from the Mitzrim to be His and His alone. The very beginning of a relationship is a time of intense love. Pesach, the beginning of our relationship with Hashem, is the appropriate time to read Shir HaShirim, the words which express these feelings."

"I understand, Abba. It is so inspiring and comforting to know that the Creator of the Universe loves us more than any other people on the face of the earth."

"It is not only inspiring, Chaim, it is also compelling. Hashem's affection for us obligates us to love Him. Rav Eliyahu KiTov in his Sefer HaTodaah (p. 414) relates that we see this from the words of the song itself. Shir HaShirim is a parable, which never mentions Hashem's Name at all. We understand that He is the subject, but we do not see His Name written in the words. So too it is with the world. Hashem is behind everything, keeping the entire universe running. However, we do not openly see Him. Our avodah is to see Hashem's Hidden Hand everywhere. We will then come to appreciate Him. This will compel us to use all of our experiences in life to get closer to Him. Thus our whole life will become a song of increasing our love for Hashem; coming closer and closer to Him."

"That is beautiful, Abba, but how is it related to Pesach?"

"Yetzias Mitzrayim was a time when Hashem's Hand was not hidden at all. He openly demonstrated to the world that He and He Alone was in charge of the forces of 'nature'. What was the purpose of this display? To choose us. To take us to be His. To show His love for us. With such an open expression of love, how can we help but reciprocate? We MUST show our dearness for Him. Therefore, on Pesach, when Hashem openly revealed His love for us, we read Shir HaShirim, the song of His hidden devotion. This inspires us to appreciate every concealed act of kindness, and respond by coming closer to Him. This kindles in our hearts a burning love for Hashem."

"May the fire burn brightly forever."


Kinderlach . . .

The next time that you go to a chassanah, look into the eyes of the chosson. You will see a special twinkle in his eye. That shows his love for the kallah. Hashem loves us as a chosson loves a kallah. Although He usually hides His Presence to the world, He revealed Himself openly at Pesach time. This was the time when He took us to be His kallah, and demonstrated His love for us. He still loves us just as much, but now we have to work to recognize His hidden acts of kindness. Shir HaShirim inspires us to do that. See Hashem's hidden hand everywhere, kinderlach. Feel His love, appreciate His kindness. Reciprocate by coming close to Him through Torah and mitzvos. Love Him with all of your heart. Make your life a song of love to Hashem.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2005 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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