For parents to give over to the children at the Shabbos table Parshas Tzav (Shabbos HaGadol)
Look A Little Closer
Mitzvah number 132 according to the Sefer HaChinuch is the commandment to keep a fire constantly burning on the mizbeach (holy altar). We learn this from the verse in the Torah (Vayikra 6:6) which says, "The fire will always be burning on the alter." The Kohanim (priests) were commanded to add wood to the fire in the morning and in the evening in order to keep the flame burning. Now, children, the Gemora in Yuma 21b tells us that the fire of the mizbeach was not a normal fire that burned up toward the sky, but rather a miraculous fire that came down from heaven. If so, then why did the Kohanim need to add wood? If Hashem miraculously made the fire come down from Heaven, then He certainly could have made it burn without wood. In answering this question, the Sefer HaChinuch teaches us a very important principle about how Hashem runs the world, children. The miracles that Hashem performs are always done in a hidden way. They are either totally or partially within the framework of natural laws. Take for example the splitting of the Red Sea. That was an open miracle, known to the entire world. Still, the Torah tells us in Shemos 14:2, "Hashem caused a strong east wind to blow the whole night which made the sea into dry land and the waters were divided." Hashem performed the miracle within the framework of natural laws so that it could appear that the wind split the sea. Similarly, He commanded the Kohanim to add wood to the fire so that it could appear that the fire was coming from the wood.
Children, Hashem's miracles are all around us. Why don't we always see them? Because they are partially hidden within nature. Let us consider, for example, the miracle of the blossoming of a tree. This is very relevant now, because Nissan is the month when we make the blessing on fruit trees in bloom. A tree's life begins by burying a seed in the ground (which would kill many living creatures), then watering it (which might drown it) and miraculously, a tree sprouts. From earth, water, and sunshine come a beautiful tree bearing delicious fruit. No less than a miracle. When we cut or bruise ourselves what happens? The wound heals. Why should it heal? When we cut a piece of paper, it does not grow back together. Hashem is performing another miracle. Sometimes He performs even bigger miracles. He cures very sick people whom the doctors say they cannot cure. Or He makes successes out of people who appear to be failing. We just have to open our eyes a little wider, children. Then we will see lots and lots of Hashem's miracles.
The Fiery Table
Nowadays, children, we have no Beis HaMikdash, and no mizbeach. However, we do have a substitute. The Shlah tells us that our table serves in place of the altar. What serves in place of the fire? The words of Torah that we speak at the table. Torah is often compared to fire. One example is the light of the Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash, which is compared to the light of Torah. We see that we have a mitzvah to keep the fire burning on the altar constantly. How do we fulfil that mitzvah in our days when we have no Beis HaMikdash? By constantly speaking words of Torah at the table. Children, when we are eating, let us all do our best to tell Abba and Imma some of the Torah that we learned today. Ask Abba and Imma to share with us what they learned today. With Hashem's help, we will constantly keep burning the miraculous fire from heaven that comes down and illuminates us with wisdom and spirituality.
Who Would Ever Think . . .
The Torah tells us in Vayikra 7:18 that it is forbidden to eat a korbon (sacrifice) which has become pigul. If the Kohen was thinking an improper thought at the time he was sacrificing the korbon, it becomes pigul. The Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 98:4 compares tefillah (prayer) to korbonos. Therefore, we must be careful not to allow an improper thought to cross our minds while davening (praying), as it will invalidate the tefillah in the same way that it made the korbon pigul. The Shulchan Aruch continues to explain that we should have a makom kavuah (fixed place) for tefillah, just as each person had a fixed place where he prepared his korbon. It is fitting for everyone to have nice, clean clothes for davening. Children, davening is so important. Many people ask our Gedolim how to succeed in the areas of marital harmony, and child rearing. Many times, their advice begins with the importance of davening to Hashem for success. Davening is our opportunity to speak to Hashem. We are standing before the creator of the world and He is listening to us. Let us all take our time children, and daven with the proper thoughts, in our own place, wearing nice clothes. May Hashem accept our pure tefillos, just as He accepted the korbonos in the Beis HaMikdash.
The Chometz Cleaning Team
In these last days before Pesach, children, everyone is involved in cleaning chometz. Our sages teach us that chometz is compared to the Yetzer Hora, that evil force that is always trying to make us sin. He tries to trap us into getting upset with each other while we are cleaning. In our house that will not happen because everyone works together as a T.E.A.M. . . . Together Everyone Accomplishes More. We are going to ask Abba and Imma to give us a list of things to clean.
We'll paste it on the refrigerator, and cross the jobs out as we complete each one. Everyone does his part in our house. We are working together to clean out the Yetzer Hora!
Enjoy your Shabbos table !
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