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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Tetzaveh

Prepare Your Heart

"Yes, young man, what would you like? Your wish is my command."

The young man could hardly believe it. The King was ready to grant him anything that he requested. What should he ask for? His mind flooded with thoughts of all the good things in the world. It was all his for the asking . . .

"Avi! Avi!"

"Yes, Abba."

"I have been calling you for five minutes. Were you sleeping?"

"I guess so, Abba; in a manner of speaking. I was daydreaming."

"About what, Avi?"

"I dreamed that the King was ready to give me anything that I asked for."

"Wow, Avi. That is quite a dream. What did you ask for?"

"I was thinking about that when I heard you calling, Abba. What should I have asked for?"

"Well, Avi, Hashem was ready to give Shlomo HaMelech anything that he asked for. He said, ‘Request what I should give you' (Melachim 1, 3:5)."

"Didn't Shlomo ask for wisdom Abba?"

"Yes, Avi. He was only twelve years old when he assumed the kingship, and he needed a wise heart to judge the people. He could have asked for wealth, long life, revenge from his enemies. Yet he valued wisdom more than any of these things. Therefore Hashem granted him ‘a wise and understanding heart, unlike any before or since' (Melachim 1, 3:12)."

"Just a minute, Abba. You mentioned wisdom, and a wise heart. Is there a difference between the two?"

"You are really on the ball today, Avi. Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt"l discusses this very point in this week's parasha. Those who worked on the clothing of the Kohanim had to have a chochom leiv – a wise heart (Shemos 28:3). A later verse states, ‘I have endowed the heart of every chochom leiv with wisdom' (Shemos 31:6). Who merits receiving wisdom? One with a wise heart. What is a wise heart? One that values and desires wisdom more than anything else in the world. Shlomo HaMelech became the wisest man in the world because he valued wisdom more than anything."

"How strong does this desire have to be, Abba?"

"Rav Shmuelevitz brings and example from the Megilla, Avi. All of the inhabitants of the civilized world, thousands of thousands of citizens of 127 nations bowed down to Haman HaRasha, except for one person – Mordechai HaYehudi. What was Haman's reaction? ‘Yet all this is worth nothing to me as long as I see Mordechai HaYehudi sitting at the king's gate' (Esther 5:13). That is the enormity of his desire for kovod (honor). Our desire for wisdom has to be at least as great as his desire for kovod."

"Abba, you have inspired me to be a chochom leiv. I am going to begin learning right now."

"May you become a very wise man, Avi."

Kinderlach . . .

If you want to hold something, you need the proper container. We are all learning, trying very hard to understand and remember the chochma (wisdom) of the Torah. What is the best container to hold that chochma? A chochom leiv. A heart that desires wisdom is a container ready to be filled with the deepest secrets of the universe. Show Hashem how much you value his Holy Wisdom, by seeking it with all of your heart. B'ezras Hashem you will all be blessed with much chochma.

For Heaven's Sake . . .
It's Purim

"Purim sameach!"

"Purim sameach to you too! Here is your Mishloach Manos."

"Thank you. Here is yours."

"Thank you too. Have a wonderful Purim."

The children gather around the beautifully wrapped package.

"What did we get?"

"Let's open it and see."

The wrapping paper comes off, and the children's eyes pop at the sight of delicious wine, cookies, candies, popcorn, and cake.

"Wow, Abba! What a beautiful gift. Can we eat it now?"

"Yes, kinderlach. Let's say some Divrei Torah while we are eating."

"Okay, Abba. Tell us some Purim Torah."

"As you wish kinderlach. What is the holiest day of the year?"

"Yom Kippur."

"Right. Do you know that the Arizal says that Yom Kippur, ‘Yom Ki-purim' is only a day like Purim?"

"Really, Abba. In what way?"

"We can, in a certain sense, reach a higher madrayga (spiritual level) on Purim that on Yom Kippur."

"That sounds incredible Abba. On Yom Kippur, we fast all day. We are like Heavenly Angels. How can we do better than that?"

"That is a very good question, kinderlach. The Chasam Sofer zt"l explains that if you eat and drink li'shaim shamayim (for the sake of Heaven), you can reach a higher level than fasting. It is easier to fast, than to eat for heaven's sake. Therefore, if you think about the great nes (miracle) of Purim before every treat that you eat, and you intend to eat in order to make yourself happy and fulfill the mitzvah of the day, then you are eating li'shaim shamayim."

"Can anyone do that, Abba?"

"Kinderlach, it is a very high madrayga; not easy to reach. The Sefer ‘Menoras Ha'meor' explains that in our days, since we may not reach this high madrayga, we should only eat a little more than normal for the sake of the mitzvah of Purim. However, we should derive great happiness from giving a lot of gifts to poor people."

"Why does that make us so happy, Abba?"

"Just think about it kinderlach. Who is happier? One who has enough food every day, and today has a little more? Or someone who is usually hungry and today eats a beautiful meal."

"The second person."

"Exactly. That is matonos l'evyonim (gifts to poor people). This mitzvah can bring more happiness than the festive meal of Purim"

"Abba, we want to fulfill all of the mitzvos of Purim li'shaim shamayim."

"May you all succeed kinderlach."

Kinderlach . . .

We all eat many treats on Purim. Let us try to add a little more meaning to that eating and drinking. Think before you drink. "Why am I drinking on Purim? To elevate my soul by performing the mitzvah of the day. To be happy about the great miracle that Hashem performed." Make sure to make plenty of evyonim happy on Purim, kinderlach. Their happiness is your happiness. That will make your Purim as happy as can be.

(For further explanation, look in the sefer ‘Kimu V'kiblu p. 116-119)

Parasha Questions

In which order were the names of the Tribes engraved on the Avnei Shoham? (28:10 and Rashi)

Which precious stones were placed on the Choshen (according to rows)? (28:17-20)

What was the Urim Vi'tumim? (Rashi 28:30)

What was on the hem of the Meil? (28:34)

What were the four garments that Aharon's sons wore? (28:40 and Rashi)

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