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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Trumah

Dedicated in honor of the 65th birthday of Dr. Hyron Spinrad--Chaim ben Mendel

The Best Merchandise

"And you shall take trumah for Me" (Shemos 25:2). The verse uses the word lekach, which means take or acquire. Shlomo HaMelech (Mishlei 4:2) uses the same word, lekach, to describe the Torah. "A good acquisition I have given to you, My Torah, do not abandon it." When we go to the store, we want to buy something good. We see that the best acquisition that a person can make is Torah. The Medrash Tanchuma tells the story of a talmid chacham who was traveling on a ship with a number of wealthy merchants. They asked him where his merchandise was. He told them that his wares were far better than theirs were. They searched all over the ship and could not find his goods, so they began to laugh at him.
Shortly afterwards, pirates came and looted the ship, taking all of their valuable merchandise. The ship landed, and they were all very poor men with not even enough food to eat or clothing to wear. The talmid chacham went to the Beis HaMedrash and began to learn Torah. The people saw that he was a wise man and they respected him greatly and provided for all of his needs. The former merchants, who were at the point of starvation, saw this and begged him to persuade the townspeople to help them. He said to them, "I told you that my merchandise was greater than yours. Yours is lost and mine is with me. Not only that, you do not profit every minute that you do business. Even when you do profit, you sometimes lose that profit. But the Torah is never lost, neither in this world, nor in the next world." Let us all grow up to be smart businessmen, children, and put our resources into Torah, der beste schorah (the best merchandise).

Holy Places

In this week's parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu begins to gather the materials for the Mishkan (tabernacle). This was the holy site where the Jewish nation would offer up their korbonos (sacrifices) to Hashem. The Shechina (Divine Presence) rested upon this holy place. We no longer have the Mishkan or the Beis HaMikdash in our days. We still have holy places, however. Our shuls and Battei Midrashim are places of kedusha (holiness). The Mishna Breura calls them mikdash mi'at (small sanctuaries). We learned in Parshas Yisro that we have to behave differently on Shabbos because it is a holy day. Similarly, we have to behave differently in the shul and the Beis HaMedrash, because they are holy places.

Children . . .

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 151) explains how to guard the sanctity of our holy places. Joking, idle conversation, and sarcasm are all prohibited there. We cannot enter them only for the purpose of gaining shelter from the outside weather, for a pleasure walk, or shortcut. We cannot discuss our business affairs there. Our clothing and shoes should be clean when we enter these holy places. We have to keep the shul itself clean. Children, our shuls and Battei Medrashim are places for tefillah (prayer) and learning Torah. Therefore, we have to behave with the utmost respect when we are there. It is a privilege to go shul with Abba. We cannot abuse that privilege. We have many places to play -- the park, the garden, the schoolyard, and the playground. The shul is not one of them. The shul is a place to be close to Hashem.

The More You Give . . .

The Alshich zt"l asks the following question on the verse, "And you shall take trumah for Me" (Shemos 25:2). Trumos were gifts given to Hashem for the construction of the Mishkan and its holy vessels. The verse should therefore say "And you shall give trumah to Me." Rav Shlomo Ganzfried zt"l in his book Aperion answers this question. The Torah is telling us that when you give to Hashem, you are really taking. When we give of our time or possessions to do a mitzvah, we receive a reward. The value of that reward is far greater than the cost of what we gave. Rav Dessler zt"l writes in Michtav MiEliyahu that we cannot even begin to imagine the reward that we will receive for the mitzvos we do.

Children . . .

Let us play a game at the Shabbos table which will help us realize that when we give to Hashem we are really taking. Take a package of raisins or another treat and give a few raisins to each person at the table (even Abba and Imma can play.) Now, explain to everyone that when they give you one raisin, they will receive five raisins in return. I am sure that everyone will be very happy to give away their raisins in order to get more raisins. The more raisins you give away, the more you get. The same is true of mitzvos. Let us take the mitzvah of tsedaka. The verse "aser taaser" means give maaser (charity) in order to become wealthy. B'ezras Hashem we will all become very wealthy. We will all be the owners of a treasure house of Torah and Mitzvos.

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Simcha Groffman


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