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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Shemos

Dedicated in loving memory of R' Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Ben Zion

Our Part -- His Part

The Jewish people suffered terribly in Egypt. 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 (Shemos 2:5). Thus, Moshe Rabbeinu was saved. The Malbim points out the hasgacha pratis (Divine supervision) involved in Moshe's salvation. Firstly, the daughter of the king was very tznuah (modest) and did not usually go to bathe in a public place such as the river. Secondly, her servants, who usually accompanied her everywhere, 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 (Sotah 12b) writes 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.

Children . . .

We cannot despair, even if 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 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 zt"l 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. We learn from her that we need only to do our part, and leave the rest up to Hashem.


Moshe Rabbeinu was very reluctant to go Egypt to redeem the Jewish people. Hashem asked him several times. Moshe gave several reasons 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 zt"l writes 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 (2:6) says, "in the place where there are no men, strive to be a man."

Children . . .

As you get older and 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. You will learn to handle it and grow to develop 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!

A Good Sendoff

Moshe Rabbeinu was about to leave Midian to return to Egypt. Yisro, his father-in-law, gave him a blessing, "Lech lisholom" go in peace. The Gemora (Brochos 64a) says that this is the proper sendoff to give a person. If, we do not give a person the proper sendoff, his journey could have a tragic outcome. The Rambam [Hilchos Aveylus (the Laws of Mourning)14:1-3] mentions the laws 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 (Sotah 46b) writes that the failure to escort ones guests is likened to spilling their blood.

Children . . .

Last week we spoke about the significance 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. Children, 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 children 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 (four cubits) and tell them how much we enjoyed their company.

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Simcha Groffman

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