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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Shoftim

Quiet Heroes

"This is a beautiful Yeshiva building, Dovid."

"I agree, Betzalel. My sons are privileged to learn here. The building was not built originally as a Yeshiva."

"Really? How did the Yeshiva acquire it?"

"That is an interesting story. The original builders and occupants of the building were preparing to sell it and move out. At that time, the Yeshiva was housed in small overcrowded quarters. A father of a student of the Yeshiva saw the situation as an opportunity for the Yeshiva to purchase the building. There was one problem, however."

"Not enough money."

"Exactly. This concerned parent was undaunted. He quickly got to work organizing meetings to bring to the attention of the community the importance of the acquisition of this structure for the Yeshiva. It went very slowly at first, but gradually the idea caught on. People began working together to raise the necessary funds. Slowly but surely, they approached the required sum. Finally, the day came when they were able to purchase the structure. After some minor renovations, the Yeshiva was able to move into the new building. The opening day was a monumental joyous event for the entire community."

"That is a true Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of the Holy Name) Dovid."

"I agree, Betzalel. The man who began the campaign is a real hero. He was just an ordinary person, yet he accomplished something great. I wonder how people achieve such phenomenal success."

"It is not as rare as you think, Dovid. There are many heroes walking quietly amongst us. Their deeds attract no attention and arouse no fanfare. However, they are no less accomplished than the man who acquired this building for the Yeshiva."

"Can you give me an example, Betzalel?"

"Sure, Dovid. Consider a man who has a specific amount of time set aside to learn Torah every day. He recognizes the supreme importance of Torah, and would like to increase his learning time. He rethinks his schedule, reorganizes his meetings and appointments, cuts down on his traveling time, and comes up with another hour in the day to learn. During that hour, he utters approximately 10,000 words of Torah, each one of which is worth 613 mitzvos. He is enriched with 6.13 million more mitzvos each day! That is a genuine bona-fide hero."

"Who would ever think..."

"I will give you another example. Consider a couple that is having marital strife. The husband and wife realize that keeping quiet when emotions are high will calm the situation and give them the opportunity to rationally work out the issues. One day, a conflict begins. They exercise great effort and manage to stay calm and quiet. The fight ends and the issue is subsequently dealt with. This happens again and again until the major issues are solved. Peace reigns in the house. This couple, who learned to control themselves, are heroes of great proportions. Future generations will benefit from their mighty acts."

"You are very astute in your observations, Betzalel."

"I suppose we can metaphorically say that building internal buildings is just as gallant as building ones of bricks and stones. A person's soul is a magnificent spiritual edifice. It takes no less work, planning, expense, and self- sacrifice to build than a Yeshiva building. One who seriously undertakes a project like this, perseveres, and achieves a measure of success, is a true hero."

"We have many heroes walking among us."

"We surely do, and we can join their ranks. We just need a serious commitment to improve our spiritual lives. Opportunities to grow will present themselves as plentifully as bricks on a building site. We will place each one of them into our spiritual edifice. Deed by deed, mitzvah by mitzvah, our internal structure will grow bigger and stronger. One who astutely perceives it will appreciate our quiet heroism."

"Betzalel, you have motivated me to be a great person!"

"You are already on your way, Dovid. May Hashem grant you great success."


Kinderlach . . .

People who perform great acts that benefit entire communities are often honored for their heroism. However, quiet individuals who perform mighty acts of overcoming their Yetzer Hora to grow spiritually are no less heroic. There are building their neshamos (souls) into beautiful spiritual edifices. Kinderlach, seize the opportunities for greatness in your everyday lives. Work on building your neshamos. Become genuine heroes.

What Will Be?

"What will be?"

"I don't know."

"Peace or war? Turmoil or tranquility? Prosperity or depression? Health or sickness? The whole world is hanging in the balance. The news is so unpredictable. Anything can happen. What will be?"

* * *

"You shall be whole-hearted (Tamim) with Hashem, your G-d" (Devarim 18:13). The Malbim elucidates that three names of Hashem are used in this verse. The third name Elokecha refers to the trait of Hashem that describes His cleaving to His nation - Israel - and guides them with hashgacha pratis (personal supervision). The name Tamim refers to Hashem's straight heart (so to speak). If we are straight with Him, and do not look for other sources of information about the future, then He will be straight with us, and personally guide our lives in the manner that suits us perfectly.

This matter requires some thought. Who is running the world? The politicians? The financiers? The generals? The press? The terrorists? Wrong on all counts. Hashem, in His infinite wisdom, would not leave such people in charge of His creation. It doesn't make sense. Rather, He and He alone is running the world. We have no reason to listen to the opinions of these other people. We have a direct connection to the Source of All Life. He wants us to strengthen that connection. Trust Him. Everything is going according to the plan.

Kinderlach . . .

What will be? Hashem's plan is proceeding exactly on schedule. Day by day the events unfold. Our role in this master plan is to trust Him. Accept everything that He does and realize that it is good. Thank Him for everything when you say Birkas Hamazon and Modim. He will continue to do good. That is what will be.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2011 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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