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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Shemini

The Deal's Off! Or Is It?

"Here we are at our home for the next week. We were so fortunate to rent this apartment. Let's go in and unpack."

"Hurry dear. We have a lot to do today. Tonight is Pesach."

The father puts the key into the lock. He opens the door of the guest apartment and finds . . . a note on the table.

"Dear renters,

Please be informed that no bedikas chometz was done on this apartment. Enjoy your stay,

The landlord."

"What?!? No bedikas chometz? We've been cheated! I won't stand for this! The deal is off! We are leaving and looking for another apartment."

The question is:

Is the renter correct in his claim that the rental agreement is null and void because no bedikas chometz was done?

The answer is:

Abayee rules (in Pesachim 4b) that a person enjoys doing mitzvos himself. He even gets satisfaction from hiring someone to do a mitzvah for him. Therefore, the unexpected mitzvah of bedikas chometz is not considered a liability to the renter, and is not a reason to invalidate the deal. The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 437:3 rules like Abayee. The Rema agrees that the rental contract is still valid. However, in a place where people are hired and paid to do bedikas chometz, the landlord must pay for the bedika.

This puzzle and answer is for learning and discussion purposes only. Do not rely upon it for psak halacha! Consult a Rav to determine the correct halachic ruling.

Rotten Bones

"Shalom Imma, I'm home."

"Shalom Devora. How was school?"

"Not so good."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Let me pour you a hot drink and we'll sit down and talk about it."

"Thanks Imma."

Devora sips at the sweet hot chocolate and begins to talk.

"It's that girl who sits in front of me in class."

"What did she do?"

"We had a spelling contest and she won. I studied so hard for that contest. I wanted to win."

"Devora, no effort is ever wasted. I'm sure your spelling has improved tremendously."

"But Imma, she always wins."

"What do you mean?"

"She gets the best grades on her report card. She has the most friends. She has the nicest clothes. She has wonderful middos (character traits). She is just perfect. I'm so jealous of her."

"Devora dear, I doubt very much that she is perfect. However, even if she is, that is no reason to be jealous of her. Jealousy is a very bad middah. Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of all men wrote, "Jealousy rots the bones" (Mishlei 14:30). Our sages added to this when they said, "Jealousy, desire, and honor take a person out of the (real) world" (Pirkei Avos 4:21). The Mesillas Yesharim explains that a person gains nothing from jealousy. It does not make him any better nor his friend any worse."

"You're so right, Imma."

"Devora, we must all work on our bitachon (trust) in Hashem. He provides us with everything that we need. Our friend has what he needs. If we do not have what she has, that means that we do not need it. Therefore, why be jealous? Would you be jealous of a baby's dress which is ten sizes too small for you?"

"Of course not. It's not for me."

"You friend's dress, which might happen to fit you, is not for you either."

"Thank you so much, Imma. I am going to focus on thanking Hashem for what He has given me. I am so fortunate."

"So am I, Devora. To have a daughter like you."

"A fire came forth from before Hashem and consumed them (Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon HaKohen), and they died before Hashem" (Vayikra 10:2). What sin that caused their deaths? One interpretation comes from the Gemora (Sanhedrin 52a). Nadav and Avihu walked behind Moshe and Aharon saying, "When will these two elders die? Then we will rule this nation." The Maharsha zt"l comments that their sin was jealousy.

Kinderlach . . .

"He got a new toy and I didn't." He needed one and you did not. "She got two cookies and I only got one." She worked harder to earn them. "She has more friends than I do." She has a more outgoing personality. You are more the quiet type. "He runs faster than I do." True, but you think faster than he does. Hashem gave you each your own special talents. Your job is to work with what you have. Don't be jealous of the other one. You have everything you need to be the best possible you.

An Historic Moment

The air was charged with excitement. This was the moment that they had all been waiting for. Months of preparation had gone into this day. It began with the command to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Everyone made their contributions of gold, silver, and other materials needed for the construction. They then contributed their labor and building skills. Headed by Betzalel, they worked through the winter building the Mishkan and its vessels. Now it was the end of the month of Adar. Each day for seven consecutive days, Moshe Rabbeinu assembled the Mishkan, sacrificed the burnt offerings, and took down the Mishkan. The Jewish people stood by the Mishkan, waiting for the Shechina (Divine Presence) to come down. "For today Hashem will appear to you" (Vayikra 9:4).

Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch relates that the Kohen Godol brought his special offering. It was his means to recognize the significance of the moment. For he was entering into his new position as the spiritual leader of the people. The nation also brought their special offering. For they were also undertaking a new position in world history. They were set apart to be Hashem's Chosen Nation. From this day onward, the Shechina would dwell among them. In that holy place, where they were given over to Hashem and His Torah.

Which day was this? Rosh Chodesh Nissan. A day that garnered ten crowns (of glory) for all of its momentous events. An historic moment.

Kinderlach . . .

This week's parasha - Shemini - commemorates a special event. The day that the Shechina came to rest upon us. We became a special nation. We have never lost that position. Hashem still cherishes us. Kinderlach, don't ever forget who you are. You are a member of the greatest people who ever walked the face of this earth. Hashem's Holy Nation.

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