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Simcha Groffman

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Parshas Shemos

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

The Ramban calls sefer Shemos the sefer of golus and geulah, (exile and deliverance.) The parsha describes the terrible suffering that Klal Yisrael underwent in Mitzraim. Paroh decreed that all Jewish newborn males be thrown into the river. Moshe Rabbeinu's mother attempted to save her son by setting him afloat on the river in a watertight basket. At that time, Paroh's daughter was going to bathe in the river. She saw the basket, reached out her hand, and took it (posuk 2:5). Thus, Moshe Rabbeinu was saved. The Malbim points out the hasgacha pratis involved in Moshe's salvation. First, a bas melech (daughter of the king) was very tznius and did not usually go to bathe in a public place such as the river. Secondly, her servants did not accompany her down to the water. If they had been with her, they would have seen her violate her father's decree by saving the child. Thirdly, Paroh's daughter saw the basket, even though it was hidden among the reeds. The Gemora in Sotah 12b says that although the basket was far away from her, she reached out her hand, a miracle happened, and it stretched many cubits to the basket. What do we learn from this story, kinderlach? Number one, we cannot despair, even is a problem seems overwhelming. We should make our best attempt to solve it, although our efforts seem insufficient. Hashem will take care of the rest. Moshe Rabbeinu's mother set him afloat in a basket on the river. Was this was enough to save him? Maybe not. After all, the basket could turn over and he would drown. No one might ever find him, or an animal might find him. Hashem guided the events to insure that the right person was in the right place at the right time to save him. The Chofetz Chaim says that Paroh's daughter knew her hand was not long enough to reach the basket. Still, that did not stop her from trying. She stretched it out as far as she could, and Hashem did the rest. Kinderlach, all of our lives are guided by hasgacha pratis. It is not always so easy for us to remember this. Let's try especially hard to realize this when we have a difficult problem in front of us. That will take the pressure off us. We know that we only need to do our hishtadlus, and Hashem will do the rest.

The Torah describes for us (posukim 2:11-15) how Moshe Rabbeinu killed a Mitzri who was beating one of the Jewish slaves. Shortly after that, he saw two Yidden fighting and he asked one of them why he raised his hand to hit the other one. The man replied, "Who made you an officer and judge upon us? Are you speaking about killing us just as you killed the Mitzri?" Moshe Rabbeinu was afraid and he said, "Now the thing is known." Rashi brings the Medrash to explain Moshe Rabbeinu's statement. Until now, Moshe could not understand why Klal Yisrael was suffering under such hard and demeaning labor (avodas parech). Now he knew the reason. Because they were speaking loshon hora (see also the Sifsei Chachomim). The reply of the man back to Moshe Rabbeinu was loshon hora. That was the explanation for the avodas parech. Think about this kinderlach. Think about how terrible the punishment was for loshon hora. We are always stressing being careful with our speech. Here is yet another example in the Torah illustrating how very important it is to avoid speaking loshon hora.

Moshe Rabbeinu was very reluctant to go Mitzraim to redeem Klal Yisrael. Hashem had to ask him several times. Moshe gave several excuses why he was not fit for the mission, and Hashem answered every one of them. Moshe finally agreed, only after Hashem became angry with him. Rav Moshe Feinstein tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu's reluctance stemmed from his great humility. He honestly felt that he was not worthy to redeem the Jewish people, even though the Almighty Himself selected him for the task. This is a tremendous strong point. However, it can be a weakness also. When you are the most qualified person for the job, you should do it, although your humility tells you to shy away. As the Mishna in Pirkei Avos says, (2:6) in the place where there are no men, strive to be a man. Kinderlach, as you get older and more mature, you are able to take on more responsibility. You can learn more, you can help more, you have more patience and understanding. Abba and Imma want to give your more responsibility so that you can learn how to handle it and grow to develop to your full potential. We know that sometimes you feel that you are not ready for the new level of responsibility. Go ahead and try anyway. We believe in you and have confidence that you can do it!

As Moshe Rabbeinu is leaving Midian to return to Mitzraim, his father-in-law, Yisro gives him a brocho, "Lech lisholom" go in peace. The Gemora in the end of Brochos (64a) says that this is the proper sendoff to give a person. If, chas veshalom, we don't give a person the proper sendoff, his journey could have a tragic outcome. The Rambam in Hilchos Aveylus (14:1-3) brings down the halachos of hachnasos orchim (welcoming guests.) He says that the reward for escorting your guests from your home is greater than all of the other mitzvos of hachnasos orchim. The Gemora says in perek Eglah Arufah (Sotah 46b), failure to escort ones guests is likened to spilling their blood. Last week, kinderlach, we spoke about the importance of greeting someone with a smile and a beautiful facial expression. This week's parsha tells us the importance of giving a person a proper farewell and escort from our home. We know that when someone leaves our home, the good-bye they receive sets the tone for the whole journey. If we send them off with a smile and an escort they get started on the right foot. Kinderlach, when Abba leaves the house in the morning, let's give him a great sendoff! Let's all give him a big hug and a kiss and say to him, "Abba, have a great day!" What a difference that will make in his day. When Imma goes out or when the kinderlach go out to school, let's also give them a great sendoff. Of course, we can't forget our Shabbos guests. We get a big mitzvah when we walk with them daled amos and tell them how much we enjoyed their company.

Enjoy your Shabbos table !

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