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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah

Parshas Pinchas - The Three Weeks

Dedicated in memory of our beloved husband and father Mordechai Dovid Ben Avigdor Z"L

For parents to give over to the children at the Shabbos table

Don't Lose the Opportunity

In the times of the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple) there was a special korbon (sacrifice) brought every Shabbos called the Olas Shabbos. This korbon consisted of two lambs, along with their meal, oil, and wine offerings. The Torah (Bamidbar 28:10) calls this the "Shabbos offering in its Shabbos." Why does the Torah need to tell us that the offering is brought in its Shabbos? Rashi answers that the offering can only be brought on that particular Shabbos. If for some reason the Olas Shabbos was not brought one Shabbos, the Kohen could not offer up a double offering the following Shabbos. When the time passed, the opportunity was lost. Many mitzvos are bound to a particular time. If they are not performed in their appointed time, the opportunity is lost. Sometimes the mitzvah can be recouped in a bidi'eved (less than ideal) fashion. However, the li'chat'chila (finest form of the mitzvah) is gone forever.

This concept applies to other areas also. As Shlomo HaMelech wrote in Koheles (3:1-8) "Everything has its season and there is a time for everything under the heavens." In our daily lives, we have our schedules of learning, davening (prayers), meals, resting, cleaning, etc. These are all done their best in the proper time set aside for them.

"Children . . .
When Imma tells us that it is time to eat, do you know that that means? It means that it is time to eat. A family meal together is a wonderful thing, and Imma works hard so that we can all enjoy our meal together. If you come after everyone has eaten, you miss that family time. In fact, Imma might not even serve a special meal for someone who comes late, when that person could have come on time. It is good to develop the habit of being on time. When we grow older and have fixed times for davening and learning, we surely do not want to be late. We will ruin the quality of the mitzvah by being late, and we might not even get the mitzvah at all."

A Man of Spirit

The time came to appoint a successor to Moshe Rabbeinu (Bamidbar 27:16-18). Moshe asked Hashem, "God of the spirits," to appoint a leader with the necessary qualities to govern the people. Hashem told Moshe, "Take Yehoshua Bin Nun, a man who has spirit in him .." Rashi explains "God of the spirits" to mean that Hashem knew that each Jew had his unique point of view. A leader needs the patience to relate to each individual Jew. Rashi is teaching us a basic principle in human relationships. People are different. The other person does not necessarily think the same way that I think. He may not like the same things that I like. Our Gedolim (Torah giants) are all truly great people, who have developed the patience to understand people as individuals, and to get along with each one and his individual preferences. It begins with little things. This one prefers chocolate, this one vanilla; one likes the front seat, one the back; one likes the window open, the other wants it closed. Yehoshua Bin Nun was able to get along with everyone.

"Children . . .
Here we are, getting on the bus. We were really looking forward to sitting next to the window, and seeing all of the sights. Now our sister tells us that she wants that seat. What should we do? Let us think. It probably means a lot to her to have that seat. We can also see out the window from the aisle seat. Let us let her have the window seat. We see a neighbor who was born in a different country. Some of his mannerisms are strange to us. That does not mean that he is wrong. If we grew up where he did, we would probably act just the same way. Let us try to reach out to him, understand him, and make him feel welcome here in our land."

Mourning the Beis HaMikdash

During these three weeks, we mourn the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish People; first and foremost, the loss of the Beis HaMikdash. A mourner is sad because he has experienced a loss. In order for us to mourn, we have to realize what we have lost. The Gemora in Sukkah 51b says, "one who has not seen the Beis HaMikdash has never seen a majestic building." Let us try to recall the most magnificent building we have ever seen. The Beis HaMikdash was infinitely more beautiful. It was much more than an awesome structure. It was the focal point of a whole different world.

Come children, it is almost Pesach. Hurry and pack up, we are going to Yerushalaim to the Beis HaMikdash! But I will miss my friends Heshy and Yankel. Don't worry they will be going too, along with all of our friends, family and neighbors. Won't it be crowded there in Yerushalaim? Wait until you get there. You will see one of Hashem's miracles. No matter how many people will come, there will always be room for everyone in Yerushalaim.

I see the Beis HaMikdash off in the distance! Look at that, the wind is blowing very strong, and the column of smoke is not moving! What a miracle! When we get closer, you will see a fire that even the heaviest rains cannot extinguish. Look, there's Heshy, there's Yankel, and there's Uncle Abe! What a beautiful sight to see everyone coming to Yerushalaim!

Here we are now in the courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash. Everyone is standing crowded together. The next part of the service requires us to lie down. What will we do? Where will we have room? Look at that, a miracle! There is plenty of room for everyone to lie down.

May we all merit to properly mourn the Beis HaMikdash and therefore be present to rejoice in its rebuilding.

Enjoy your Shabbos table !

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Simcha Groffman

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