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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Tzav

The Vessel

"Knock knock, I'm home."

"Chaim, how are you? How was your day at school?"

"Great, Imma. I'm so thirsty. May I please have a drink of water?"

"Sure Chaim. Here is the pitcher, and here is a cup. Don't forget to make a beracha (blessing over the water) before you drink."

"Yum. That was so refreshing. Thank you so much Imma. I was so thirsty that I would have used my hands as a cup, or even taken a drink from the pitcher.

"Your hands, Chaim, cannot hold nearly as much water as the cup. The water that you held would probably drip or spill as you were trying to drink. The best vessel to hold water for drinking is a cup."

"What is the best vessel for holding paint, Imma?"

"A sealed can. That way the paint will not dry out."

"What about toothpaste?"

"A tube is the best for that. You can squeeze out just as much as you need."

"And a bucket is the best thing to hold my building blocks."

"Right, Chaim. You could put them in a plastic bag, but the bucket is much stronger."

"In other words, Imma, there are different containers that we can use to hold things, but each thing has the vessel which suits it best."

"Exactly. Chaim, did you know that spiritual things have vessels also."

"They must be spiritual vessels."

"They are, Chaim. We learn about a very important vessel from this week's parsha."

"Hmmm. Let's see. Parshas Tzav is all about korbonos, the offerings brought to the Tabernacle and Holy Temple. Do you mean the vessels used in preparing and sacrificing the korbonos Imma?"

"Not exactly, Chaim. There was a korbon called the Shlomim, the peace offering."

"Why was it called that, Imma?"

"The Medrash explains that that korbon was called Shlomim because it made peace between the Kohanim (Priests), the Mizbeach (Altar), and the man who brought the korbon."

"How did it make peace, Imma?"

"Everyone had a share in it. The Kohanim received some of the meat, the limbs went to the Mizbeach, and the man received the remainder of the meat and the skin. Everyone was a partner in it, and everyone received something. That made peace. And it brought blessing to all involved."

"That is fascinating, Imma. These korbonos really have deep meaning. Can you please explain two more things to me?"

"Sure, Chaim."

"I understand how the Korbon Shlomim made peace, but how did it bring blessing? And what is the spiritual vessel that you told me about a few minutes ago?"

"These two points are related Chaim. A different Medrash explains that the best vessel for holding blessings is peace. Peace is a spiritual vessel. It holds spiritual things, namely blessings. Hashem loves us very much and wants to bless us with all sorts of good things. He wants to give us wisdom, good health, wealth, security, children, and many other good things. However, like the water that you wanted to drink, these blessings must be held inside of something. If not, they will just run away from us and be lost."

"Like the drinking water will spill and be lost without the cup, Imma?"

"That's right, Chaim."

"Peace is the 'cup' which holds the 'water' of blessings. We have many examples of this in history. The Jewish people were at peace with each other, and received blessings far greater than could be expected under the circumstances."

"Imma, what can we do to receive these blessings?"

"We have to be at peace with one another."

"Imma, you are really great. I ask you for a drink of water, and I receive much more in return. You really know how to make peace."

"That is why I received the greatest blessing of all, Chaim. A wonderful son like you."

Kinderlach . . .

Who can think of ways to make peace? "Give in to the other person." "Do not answer back when the other person is angry." "Speak softly." "Communicate clearly." "Don't jump to conclusions." "Judge favorably." "Don't let little things bother you." "Always be the first one to apologize." "Run away from an argument as you would run from a fire." "Work together." "Help other people." "Always try to give more than you get." "Smile, and give compliments whenever you can." These are all correct answers. There are many other answers. Each is a tool. We are making a vessel called peace, and we need to use the proper tools. Kinderlach, may you all make beautiful, big vessels, which Hashem will then fill with blessings.

Who Would Ever Think

The Torah writes (Vayikra 7:18) that it is forbidden to eat a korbon (sacrifice) which has become pigul (unfit). If the Kohen was thinking an improper thought at the time he was sacrificing the korbon, it becomes pigul. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 98:4) compares tefillah (prayer) to korbonos (sacrifices). Therefore, we must be careful not to allow an improper thought to cross our minds while 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 tefillah.

Kinderlach . . .

Tefillah is so important. Many people ask our great Rabbis for advice on how to succeed in the areas of marital harmony and child rearing. Many times, their advice begins with the importance of praying to Hashem for success. Prayer 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 kinderlach, and pray 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.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2003 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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