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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah

Parshas Ki Seitzei

Help From Hashem

Children, we have now finished the second week of Elul. How is everyone's tshuva is coming along? Hashem is helping us to do tshuva by giving us specific instructions in this week's parsha. There are so many mitzvos of chessed (loving kindness from one person to another) in parshas Ki Seitzei. Verse 22:1 teaches us the mitzvah of returning a lost object to its owner. Verse 22:4 details the mitzvah of helping your fellow man unload a heavy load from the back of his pack animal. The mitzvah of putting a railing around your roof to prevent someone from falling off is found in verse 22:8. The mitzvah of not plowing with an ox and a mule under the same yoke appears in verse 22:10. This would cause suffering to both of them. The stronger one would always be pulling the weaker one, and the weaker one would be dragging the stronger one. Verse 23:21 brings us the prohibition of taking interest when lending money to another Jew. Verse 23:24 teaches us the mitzvah of keeping your word, and not going back on what you said. The mitzvah of allowing your worker to eat from the fruit that he is picking appears in verse 23:25. In verse 24:5 we find the mitzvah of taking the responsibility for making your spouse happy. We find in verse 24:9 the mitzvah of remembering what Hashem did to Miriam - the punishment she received for speaking loshon hora (gossip or slander). The mitzvah of paying your workers on time is taught in verse 24:15. Verse 24:20 brings us the mitzvah of leaving behind forgotten grain for poor people. The Torah, in verse 25:4 details the mitzvah of not muzzling an ox while he is working in the granary. And finally, in verse 25:13 we find the mitzvah of using fair and equal weights and measures when you do business. This long list of mitzvos reminds us of the words of Rav Chanania Ben Akashia (Makkos 23b). "Hashem wanted to give the Jewish people merits, therefore He heaped upon them Torah and mitzvos."

Children . . .

We see that the Torah commands us to worry about the pain and suffering of an animal. Hashem gave us the mitzvos of unloading a loaded animal, not plowing with two different species under the same yoke, and not muzzling and animal when he is working around food. How much more so do we have to be extremely careful not to cause pain to a fellow human being! To this end, we have the mitzvah of putting a railing around your roof, to prevent him from falling. We must keep our word, so that he can trust us. Our workers must be permitted to eat from the fruit they are picking. Their wages must be paid on time. We must leave behind forgotten grain for the poor. Transgressing any one of these mitzvos will cause people pain and suffering.

Never Too Late

The book, "Tnuos HaMussar" tells a story of how far Rav Yosef Yoizel Horwitz went to return a lost object. During his travels, Rav Horwitz found himself at a certain inn for Shabbos. In order to clean off his clothes, he borrowed a clothing brush from one of the other guests. It was shortly before Shabbos and he had no time to return the brush. Immediately after Shabbos he went looking for the guest, but to his extreme dismay, the man had already left the inn on his way back to Moscow. Rav Horwitz was very distressed about the fact that he could not return the clothing brush to this man. Seven years passed. Rav Horwitz happened to be conversing with a man from out of town. He asked the man where he was from. The man replied, "Moscow". Rav Yosef Yoizel asked him if he knew a certain man (the owner of the brush). When the man answered yes, Rav Yosef Yoizel became very excited. He gave the brush to the man to return it to its owner and thereby performed the mitzvah of returning a lost object.

Children . . .

Rav Horwitz waited seven years to do the mitzvah of returning a lost object! We see how dear the mitzvah was to him. Let us make sure that we make every effort to return lost objects that we find to their rightful owners.

Pay Him On Time

Rav Yosef Tomim (who is known to us as the Pri Megadim) was appointed to a prestigious Rabbinical position in Frankfurt. In order to give the proper honor to the position, he ordered a new Rabbinical robe. He didn't want to lose a minute of learning time, so he gave the money to his wife to pay the tailor when the robe was completed. He returned home from the beis hamedrash late at night and his wife was sleeping. He saw that the robe was there, but he did not want to wake his wife to ask her if she had paid for it. He was so concerned about not transgressing the mitzvah of paying on time that he walked out in the middle of the night, looking for the tailor's house. When he found it, he was happy to see the lights on. He knocked on the door. The tailor was frightened to see him. "What brings the Rav to my door at this late hour?" he asked. The Pri Megadim replied that he was worried, perhaps the tailor did not receive his wage for the robe. The tailor assured him that he had been paid and the Pri Megadim returned home happy.

Enjoy your Shabbos table !

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Simcha Groffman

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