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Simcha Groffman

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Parashas Mishpatim

Mizmor Li'Dovid

"Kinderlach, we sing a very special zemer this third meal of Shabbos. It is chapter 23 of sefer Tehillim - 'Mizmor Li'Dovid'. Rashi informs us that Dovid HaMelech played his music, then the Shechina (Divine Presence) rested upon him, and after that, he wrote the tehilla. That is why the word 'mizmor' (music) precedes the word 'Dovid'. Other chapters of Tehillim begin with the words 'LiDovid Mizmor' because the Shechina first came to Dovid, then he sang and wrote his tehilla."

"Fascinating, Abba."

"Dovid HaMelech describes Hashem as his shepherd. Just as a shepherd provides pasture for his flocks, so too Hashem provides for Dovid - he lacks nothing. Since Dovid draws the parable to sheep, he describes how Hashem lays him down in lush meadows (with an abundance of food) and by tranquil waters (which are clear and pure)."

"Hashem provides us with everything."

"Yes, kinderlach. Now Dovid moves on to spiritual needs. Dovid's soul was afflicted by the many tsaros (troubles) that befell him. Hashem restored it to its tranquil state. He led Dovid on the path of justice, so that he would not fall into the hands of his enemies. Dovid HaMelech draws so much strength from his emunah and bitachon in Hashem, that he does not fear evil, even when he walks in the valley of death. The Almighty is with him."

"What a madrayga (spiritual level) of faith and trust!"

"Indeed, kinderlach. Dovid is an example for all of us. Hashem's rod, which symbolizes yissurin (suffering), and His staff, which symbolizes the support that He gives to Dovid, comfort him. He knows that Hashem has not abandoned him; rather He is with him, helping him atone for his sins. Therefore, Dovid is confident that Hashem will prepare for him a table set with delicacies. His tormentors will see the great honor that Hashem is bestowing upon him. The oil of anointment will flow upon his head, and his cup will overflow. Only good and kindness will pursue him all the days of his life. He will dwell in the House of Hashem for eternity."

"Absolutely beautiful, Abba. Dovid HaMelech's words and thoughts almost bring us to tears. How close he was to Hashem!"

"May he inspire all of us to strive for higher levels of emunah, bitachon, and closeness to Hashem."

Kinderlach . . .

We can see Hashem's loving hand in our lives, just as Dovid saw it in his life. We see Him providing us with all of our needs every minute of every day. We feel Him comforting our souls from their troubles. We realize that the suffering is a sign that He has not forgotten us. He gives us the strength to pull through, knowing that all will be well in the end. We ask for only good and kindness in this world, and closeness to Hashem in the world to come.


"Tzippy, can you please wash off the porch?"

"I already did, Abba."

"It still looks dirty to me."

"It must have been the dirty water dripping down from the neighbor's porch."

Tzippy's Abba is upset. He goes storming up to the neighbor, knocking on the door.

"Did you just wash your porch?"


"The water spilled down on to my nice clean porch."

"This is the tenth time that you have complained about this and I have told you every time that it is not my problem."

"If you do not stop this I am going to Beis Din (Rabbinical Court)."

"Suit yourself."

Tzippy's Abba comes downstairs even more upset. He knows that going to Beis Din is not easy. But what choice does he have?

"How did it go with the neighbor, Abba?"

"Not good. I may have to go to Beis Din to settle this."

"Really? We were just learning about Beis Din today in our parasha class."

"What did you learn, Tzippy?"

"The teacher taught us something that the Baal HaTurim wrote about the word mishpatim, in the very first verse. The letters of the word form an acronym in Hebrew. 'The judge is commanded to make a compromise between the two parties before he judges.' When you go to Beis Din, Abba, the first thing that the Dayan (Rabbinical Judge) will do is try to reach a compromise between you and our neighbor."

"If that is the case, then why don't I try to reach a compromise with him? It will save us a lot of time, expense, aggravation, and possible sinas chinam (senseless hatred)."

"Great idea, Abba."

Tzippy's Abba goes upstairs with a good attitude.

"I have an idea. Why don't we make a schedule so that you wash your porch before we wash ours? Then your dirty water will not fall onto our clean porch."

"No problem. I'm always ready to compromise."

Kinderlach . . .

Compromise is a wonderful thing. Each side gives in a little and they come to a settlement. "Esti, it is time to go to sleep." "I want to stay up another half hour Imma." "That is too late." "How about another twenty minutes?" "Esti, make it ten minutes and we have a deal." "Okay, Imma. Ten minutes." Kinderlach, now is the time to master the skill of compromising. It may take some practice, but it is definitely worthwhile. You will avoid most of life's petty arguments. Your life will be much more peaceful, happier, and relaxed.

Parasha Questions:

Who pays for lost wages and medical bills of a person who was injured in a fight? (21:18,19 and Rashi)

If a man lights a fire in his own property, and it subsequently spreads to another's property and burns there, is the first man obligated to pay for damages? Why? (Rashi 22:5)

What is the difference in payment when a person steals and admits it, to when he denies it and is convicted? (22:6-9 and Rashi)

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