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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Pinchas

In Loving Memory of Mordechai Dovid Ben Avigdor Shafer z"l


Everyone was excited beyond words. The big day had finally come - the wedding of the family's oldest child.

"Okay, everyone, smile. Come, let's see those big white teeth. Say, 'cheese'."

The photographer snapped the picture.

"What a beautiful, happy family!"

Rav Zalman Sorotzkin relates that the Torah teaches us the proper choices in life. "It is not good that man be alone" (Bereshis 2:18). Choose to marry and raise a family. There is obviously great happiness and lofty purpose in family life. However, there is also a much deeper reason to choose marriage. The family is a "school" to learn how to love your fellow man. A person naturally loves his parents, his spouse, his children, and his relatives. Through family life, he learns to love and give to his friends, acquaintances, and eventually everyone.

Rav Sorotzkin goes on to explain that the life during the forty years in the desert was like one big family. All of Klal Yisrael lived under one big roof - the Annanei HaKovod (Clouds of Glory). They ate the mun from one table (so to speak), and they drank from one well. Therefore, when the census was taken in the beginning of parashas Bamidbar, no family names were mentioned. We were like one big family. Now, in parashas Pinchas, we were preparing to enter the Land of Israel. No Annanei HaKovod, no mun, and no well. What would happen to our unity? Would it break apart completely? No. We would retain the togetherness on a smaller level - the family structure. Therefore, at the census taken now, in parashas Pinchas, the family names are mentioned. To teach us that this is our new unity structure. The families would live together, and receive their inheritance together in the Land. There they would hold on to their great tradition of loving and giving to each other, and to their greater family: Klal Yisrael.

Kinderlach . . .

School is not the only place to learn. We also receive a great education in the home. What do we learn there? How to love and give. Within the walls of our house lives our family. We love them and we constantly give to them. "Please pass me the salt." An opportunity to do chessed. "Let's wash the floors." A chance to work together. "Oy vey. I cut my finger." Work on being empathetic. "Oh no, the cookies are gone and I did not get one." Now is the time to give. The home is the place to learn to love and give. Then we can "graduate" to learning to give to friends, neighbors, and eventually all of Klal Yisrael. Kinderlach, may you all become geniuses at loving and giving.

A Big Sacrifice

"For on the Seventeenth of Tammuz, the Korbon Tomid ceased."

"For on the Seventeenth of Tammuz, the Korbonos Olah and Zevach ceased."

"For on the Seventeenth of Tammuz, the service of the Korbonos ceased."

We recited these words this past week during the selichos on the Seventeenth of Tammuz. It was indeed a dark day in Jewish history. A day which marked the end of the Korbonos and their Temple service. Of what value were he Korbonos? What did we lose?

The Medrash Rabba (Pinchas 21:21) relates that there was never a man in Yerushalayim with a sin in his hand. How could this be? The morning Tomid would atone for sins of the night. The late afternoon Tomid would atone for sins of the day. How wonderful! A life without sin! The Korbon Todah was a means of expressing our thanks to Hashem. Every Yom Tov was celebrated with Korbonos. The chagiga and reiya are two examples. Korbonos made it possible to be a nozir. The Parah Aduma allowed us to be tahor. Over 170 of the 613 mitzvos are connected to korbonos. Life in the times of the Beis HaMikdash was on a different spiritual plane.

Kinderlach . . .

We have no Korbonos. So much has been lost. Yet, there is hope. We do have a substitute. The verse states, "vi'nashalma parim sifaseinu" (and we will repay with the oxen of our lips)[Hoshea 14:3]. Our sages darshen this to mean that words of tefillah and learning about korbonos serve in place of the actual sacrifices. Our prayers serve as Korbonos. Specifically the recitation of the Korbons themselves. It just takes a few extra minutes before the shacharis (morning) and mincha (afternoon) prayers. Say the korbonos. Learn about them and understand them. New worlds will open up to you. Your life will be richer. Sacrifice the time for sacrifices.

Parasha Questions:

When did Pinchas become a Kohen? (Rashi 25:13)

How many ballots did each prince draw in the lottery of the division of Eretz Yisrael? (Rashi 26:54)

What is the order of relatives who inherit? (27:8-11)

Moshe's face shone like the _____ and Yehoshua's face shone like the _____. (Rashi 27:20)

Which was the first korbon of the day? The last? (Rashi 28:10)

Could a missed Korbon Tomid or Mussaf of Shabbos or Rosh Chodesh be made up later? (Rashi 28:10,14)

How much mincha accompanied a bull, ram, sheep? (28:12)

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