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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Nitzavim


"Abba, I am not sure what I should do."

"What is the question, Avi? What are you unsure about?"

"It is complicated, Abba. I wish that someone would clarify it for me and tell me what to do; which decision to make; which path to choose."

"Avi, may I share with you a few words from the parasha about decision making?"

"Yes, please, Abba."

"Hashem gave us a choice, and told us what to choose. He called heaven and earth as His witnesses. The Almighty placed before us life and death, blessing and curse. Then He told us to choose life, in order that we and our offspring shall live (Devarim 30:19). This choice seems simple. Who, after all, would choose death? The Malbim explains that life is keeping the Torah, and death is the opposite. The Chofetz Chaim, in his sefer Shmiras HaLashon (Chapter 9), adds that the Torah is referring to eternal life. These are the words of the blessing that we recite after reading the Torah, 'You placed eternal life within us.' When a person chooses to keep the Torah, he is choosing eternal life. The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh adds that the Torah brings blessing and reward in both this world and the next."

"It sounds wonderful, Abba."

"It is, Avi. The Ramban explains that every person has free choice. There is nothing to prevent him from choosing either path. The choice seems clear, however, the yetzer hora is an expert at confusing a person. He offers all sorts of reasons why a person should abandon the Torah. He has the ability to get us very confused. Therefore, Hashem tells us what path to choose. Choose life! Take the path of the Torah! Choose what is good for you and for your offspring both in this world and the next."

"How inspiring, Abba."

"Yes, Avi. You have many choices in your life. You must always keep on thing in mind. Hashem told you to choose life. Always choose the Torah path. Always make the decision which will uphold the Torah. Sometimes it is complicated. You may need to ask a Rav who is rich in Torah knowledge and experience to help you clarify the issue. He may even tell you which is the correct path to take. Then the decision is up to you. Choose life! Follow the Torah and its wise men. Hashem will give you blessing and reward in this world and forever."

Kinderlach . . .

Rosh Hashanah is coming in just a few days. On that day, Hashem decides who will live and who will die. He has given us the option. We can choose life. When we accept upon ourselves the mitzvos of the Torah, and crown Hashem as King of the world, we are choosing life. Follow Hashem's advice, kinderlach. Make the right decision. Choose life.

Wealthy Forever

"Abba, that is a magnificent home. Just the gardens alone are worth more than our house."

"Eli, I know the owner, personally."

"Really? He must be a very wealthy man."

"I knew him before he was rich. He had a regular job. However, he had a burning ambition to be rich. He saved all of his salary money, and lived like a poor man. In a few years, he bought a business. He continued to live very poorly, putting all of the profits back into the business. The business grew and he became very wealthy. Now he no longer has to live like a poor man."

"He was willing to be poor temporarily in order to have long-term wealth."

"Exactly, Eli."

"The Chofetz Chaim zt"l speaks along similar lines, Abba."

"I cannot believe that the holy Chofetz Chaim advocates amassing a fortune of money, Eli."

"No, Abba. He advises us to amass a fortune of Torah."

"Now that sounds more like Rav Yisrael Meir."

"He writes in his commentary on parashas Nitzavim that the only fortune to be earned in this world is the Torah."

"It is not in heaven" (Devarim 30:12). There is no Torah in heaven. Torah was given to be learned down here, to purify our souls. Without the Torah, we would be poor forever. When we learn Torah, we amass a great fortune. Even if we are poor in this world, it is only temporary. Like the man in the story, who was willing to undergo temporary poverty to receive great wealth. Torah riches are beyond comprehension.

Kinderlach . . .

Now is the time to work hard. You will have plenty of time to enjoy your Torah fortune later. However, you only have a short amount of time to work at learning Torah. Do not waste even one minute. Fabulous wealth awaits you.

Long Term Contract

"For you pass into a covenant with Hashem . . . whoever is here with us today, and whoever is not here with us today" (Devarim 29:11,14). This bris was for all future generations of the Jewish people. The Malbim asks a startling question. How can we, who are living 3000 years later, be obligated to an agreement made by our forefathers? A contract made without the consent of one of the parties is not binding. We were not there to agree to this. To answer this question, we first must realize that The Almighty does not need our agreement. The All Powerful One can impose His terms upon anyone at any time. This bris is an advantage for us, not an obligation. Without this bris, punishment would come swiftly for those who go against Hashem's will. He is patient, disciplining slowly, hoping that the sinner will realize his mistakes and do teshuva (repentance). Teshuva is for our good, to purify our souls, and earn us eternal reward. Hashem is assuring us that He will never forget us. He will never let us sink so low that we are lost. We have mutually committed to a bris (covenant) binding us together forever.

Kinderlach . . .

Rosh Hashanah is almost upon us. It marks the beginning of a new year. A time of renewal. Now is the time to renew and strengthen our relationship with Hashem. When we come close to Him by doing tshuva, He will come close to us. Those are the terms of the bris that we entered 3000 years ago. Do your part. Hashem is waiting for you.

Parasha Questions:

What will happen to a person who follows his heart (instead of Hashem's commandments)? (29:18-20)

Who judges hidden sins? Who judges revealed sins? (29:28 and Rashi)

Which mitzvah is close to us? (Rashi 30:12,14)

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