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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah ©
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Parashas Tetzaveh

Wipe Out Amalek…Today

"Why is everyone banging their feet on the ground, Abba?"

"Because, we just read Parashas Zachor, Moishie."

"Zachor means remember, right Abba?"

"Right, Moishie."

"What are we remembering, Abba?"

"We are remembering what Amalek did to us."

"What did he do to us, Abba?"

"That is a very good, question, Moishie. Rav Chaim Friedlander devotes an entire chapter of his sefer, Sifsei Chaim, to describe what Amalek did, and continues to do to us. It is just terrible."

"Please, tell me about it, Abba."

"At the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim, Moishie, Hashem revealed Himself openly to the entire world. He smote Mitzrayim, the world's most powerful nation, with ten deadly makkos. He took His chosen nation out of slavery, and led them to the Yam Suf. He split the sea, and all of the waters in the world, allowing the Bnei Yisrael to walk through on dry land. Then he drowned the last of the Mitzri oppressors in the very same sea. The whole world knew about this. They saw Hashem's kedusha (holiness), and the kedusha of his chosen nation, Israel. They were in awe of the power of the Almighty, who controlled the forces of nature, and 'toyed' with the world's mightiest nation. Everyone was terrified of Hashem and His nation."

"Everyone, Abba?"

"Very good Moishie. Almost everyone. One nation was not impressed by the kedusha of Hashem and Klal Yisrael. That nation was . . . Amalek."

"What did they do Abba?"

"They degraded the very essence of Hashem's rule over the universe by attacking Klal Yisrael in Refidim, just a short time after they left Mitzrayim. They showed the world that they were not in awe of Him or His might. This lowered Hashem's (and Klal Yisrael's) awesomeness (so to speak) in the eyes of the world. This was such a grave sin, that we are still suffering the consequences to this very day."

"That is horrible Abba! How could they do such a thing?"

"Because we let them, Moishie."

"How, Abba?"

"It is very simple, Moishie. Where did Amalek attack Klal Yisrael?"

"In Refidim."

"Right. The Gemora (Sanhedrin 106a) darshens 'refidim' to mean 'refion yadayim' - a weakening of the hands. We 'weakened our hands' (so to speak) from the study of Torah. That itself is a degradation of Hashem's holiness. The Almighty gave His most prized possession - the Torah, to His most cherished nation - Klal Yisrael. He promised great rewards in this world and the next to those who learn it and follow its ways. How dare someone make light of this wonderful gift by ignoring it, or not treating it with the utmost respect! What a chutzpah to not learn Torah to the fullest of ones abilities! That is an insult to the giver."

"Oy vey."

"We 'weakened our hands' and did not learn Torah properly. And so, our lack of respect, allowed the ultimate chutzpan (brazen one) - Amalek - to come and attack Klal Yisrael."

"You said that it still affects us today, Abba. Is there anything that we can do about it?"

"Yes, Moishie. We can strengthen our Torah learning. That shows Hashem how much we cherish Him and His precious gift. It also brings kedusha upon us. We come closer to The Almighty and farther from the evil forces of Amalek. This protects us from him, and all of the terrible things that he does. This is our struggle, Moishie. We must wipe out the Amalek in ourselves, by strengthening our Torah learning and coming closer to Hashem."

"That is something worth banging your feet over."

"Right, Moishie. Let's wipe out Amalek!"

Kinderlach . . .

Amalek is still with us. He stands ready to jump in when we turn away from Hashem. How? By weakening our Torah learning. Purim is almost upon us. We have so many mitzvos that day - reading the Megilla, mishloach manos, matonos l'evyonim, and the seudas Purim. Let us not forget one very, very important mitzvah - limud haTorah! Talmud Torah kineged kulam - learning Torah is equal to all of the other mitzvos put together! This is the war with Amalek in our days - to keep our Torah learning strong. These days of Purim we celebrate our victory in the struggle with Haman - an Amalekite who almost wiped out all of Klal Yisrael. Hashem turned the tables around . . . and we won! We even went so far as to re- accept the Torah in joy and happiness. We have a fantastic way to celebrate this victory - learn Torah with a new vitality! Show Amalek that we won, and that our hands are strong in Torah learning! Do not give him even the smallest opening to enter. Win the war with Amalek in our times, kinderlach, just as Mordechai and Esther did in their days.

The Clothes Fit

"You shall make holy garments for Aharon your brother for glory and splendor" (Shemos 28:2). The Malbim explains the spiritual aspect of the middos (measurements) of these garments. Although the Torah appears to be explaining the character and construction of the external clothing of the Kohanim, in reality it is detailing the internal garb of their souls. Those holy Kohanim who serve Hashem must clothe their souls in good middos (character traits), proper ideas and attitudes. The holy external garments were only a means to teach the Kohanim that they must fix up their souls and their middos, which are the internal garb of the soul. Then they will be truly fit to serve Hashem.

Kinderlach . . .

"Middos Tovos are the measure of a person. Let's go around the Shabbos table and see how many middos tovos we can name." "Patience." "Very good Leah!" "Always telling the truth." "Excellent, Rivka!" "Speaking softly." "That's so important Ephraim." "Being organized." "That helps everything go well, Ahuva." "Not wasting anything." "I can see you appreciate what Hashem gives you Doni. Okay, let each one of us pick a middah and work on it this week. Next week we will report back with our success stories."

Parasha Questions:

When did Aharon burn the ketores? (30:7,8 and Rashi)

Whatwere the measurements and the materials of construction of the mizbeach ha'ketores? (30:1-3)

What was the korbon tomid and when was it offered? (29:38-42)

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