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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Acharei Mos

Shvii Shel Pesach

Our Closeness

"I have an important message for the King."

The guard at the gate scrutinized the messenger. After checking his credentials, he allowed him to enter.

"Go up (yaaleh) that road to the King's palace. Then present yourself to the next guard."

The messenger followed instructions.

"I have an important message for the King."

The messenger passed this guard's inspection, also.

"You may come (vi'yavo) into the King's courtyard."

At the courtyard he was met by another guard, who allowed him to reach (vi'yagia) the King's inner chamber. The big moment was at hand. The King looked up and saw him (vi'yeraeh). The messenger's heart skipped a beat. Would the King look upon his message with favor (vi'yeratzeh)? He opened up his letter and read it to the King. The King listened (vi'yishma) and took his words to heart (vi'yipoked). What did the letter say?

"Our Dearest and Most Beloved King. Please remember (vi'yizocher) the close relationship (zichronenu) that we once had, and how Your Majesty looked favorably upon us (upikdonenu). Please recollect the bris you made with our forefathers (vi'zichron avoseinu). Please recall Your Highness' promise to send the redeemer (vi'zichron Moshiach ben Dovid avdecha). Remember Your Holy City of Jerusalem (vi'zichron Yerushalayim Ir Kodshecha). And may the recollection of the entire nation of Israel (vi'zichron kol amcha beis Yisrael) come before You (lifanecha) for a salvation (lifleita), for good things (litova), to find favor in Your eyes (lichen). Be kind to us (u'lichessed), and have mercy upon us (u'lirachamim), and grant us long life (u'lichaim), and peace (u'lishalom) on this holy day."

The King was moved by this emotional plea. The messenger continued.

"Remember us Your Majesty (Zochreinu Hashem Elokeinu) on this day for good (bo litova). Look favorably upon us with a multitude of blessings and success (u'pokdeinu bo li'vracha), and redeem us for life (vi'nosheinu bo l'chaim). And by way of Your Majesty's promise to save and have mercy upon us (u'vidvar yeshua vi'rachamim) have pity on us because You created us (chus). Favor us (vi'chaneinu), be merciful (vi'rachem oleinu) and deliver us. For our eyes look to You (ki Alecha eineinu), for You are our Mighty King (ki Kel Melech) Who gives freely even to those who are undeserving (Chanun Vi'rachum Atta).*

The messenger concluded his heartfelt plea. The King was moved by his sincerity. He recalled the close relationship that He once had with His subjects. He reviewed their many merits. And so, He had mercy upon them.

Kinderlach . . .

Do you recognize this message? It is the prayer, "Yaaleh Vi'Yavo" that we recited today as well as every Yom Tov, Chol HaMoed , and Rosh Chodesh. Hashem is the King, and we are each messengers, bringing this important request to His attention. It is an emotional plea to Hashem, asking Him to bless us with all of the good things. We have many merits, as well as His promises, and we ask Him to recall them all on this day. In the zechus of this, we pray for our well being and the final redemption. Moedim are our appointments with Hashem. We have private time to be close to Him. Say this prayer with a renewed kavannah (concentration), kinderlach. May Hashem grant all of your wishes!

(*The explanation is based on the sefer Avodas HaTefillah)

Mitzvos Are Forever

"What did you get?"

"That Mitzri gave me all of his gold jewelry."

"I got a sack of silver coins."

"We're rich! After all of these years of slave labor in Mitzraim, we are finally getting what we deserve."

"Where is our leader Moshe? Why isn't he taking spoils?"

The verse states, "Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him" (Shemos 13:19). The Tosefta (Sota 4:2) relates that the entire nation was busy gathering spoils from Mitzraim. Except for Moshe. He was busy with mitzvos. He was fulfilling Yosef's directive to take his bones up out of Mitzraim. As the verse states, "The chochom leiv (wise of heart) will take good deeds" (Mishle 10:8). The Malbim explains this verse to mean that a person is constantly struggling with his yetzer hora. He wants to do mitzvos, which are good for him, yet his yetzer tries to trick him into doing aveyros (sins). A wise hearted man overcomes this desire. One only takes what he truly wants, and the chochom leiv truly wants mitzvos. Therefore, he takes them.

The Keli Yakar offers a fascinating explanation of the words of the verse, "(Moshe took the bones of Yosef) with him". What does a person take with him into the next world? Not his money. Nor his property. Only his mitzvos. That is the only thing that stays with him forever. Moshe took this mitzvah with him into eternity. Perhaps this is why Hashem presented Moshe with this particular mitzvah at that point in time. Because caring to the needs of the departed reminds us of that day when we will all be judged for our mitzvos. The Jewish people needed a reminder of what was truly valuable, at a time when they were chasing after the fleeting pleasures of this world.

Kinderlach . . .

What makes a person truly rich? Gold? Silver? Diamonds? Land? Wrong on all counts. Mitzvos are the most valuable thing that a person can own. Who is a chochom leiv (wise hearted person)? One who takes mitzvos. Where does he take them? Along with him into the next world. Mitzvos are forever.

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

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