Keep the Fire Burning
"Come, Avi. We're going to burn the chometz now."
"Wait for me, Abba."
"Hurry, Avi. It's getting late."
Avi quickly puts on his coat. He and his father go to the vacant lot where they find many people burning their chometz. They approach one fire.
"Let's burn our chometz over here, Abba."
"There are only embers here, Avi. We need a stronger fire for our chometz. Let's add some wood."
Avi and his father find some scrap wood, add it to the coals, and before long the flames are blazing.
"We kept that fire burning, Abba, just like in the Beis HaMikdash."
"What do you mean, Avi?"
"This week's parasha, Abba, includes the mitzvah of keeping the fire constantly burning on the Mizbeach (altar) (Vayikra 6:6). The Kohanim were commanded to place wood on the Mizbeach every morning and evening to keep the fire burning."
"Abba, in the Beis HaMikdash, the miraculous fire came down from Heaven to consume the korbonos. Hashem did not need the wood of the Kohanim to keep the fire burning."
"Avi, you are warming up to a very deep subject here. The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 132) elaborates on one of the foundations of the Beis HaMikdash. Hashem sent down blessing to the entire world via the Beis HaMikdash. By fulfilling the mitzvah of the fire, the Kohanim brought blessing to all worldly fire."
"Which fire needs blessing, Abba?"
"That is another hot subject, Avi. The Rambam (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah) relates that everything is composed of four basic elements - fire, wind, water, and earth. The ‘fire' in a person is the life force that keeps him going. The body is warm. We need that bracha in our bodily fire to keep us alive."
"Abba, that is fascinating. What about the neshama (soul)? What element is it composed of?"
"The neshama is a different element. It is from Hashem in Heaven. When a person passes away, it goes back up to Heaven. The body stays here and decomposes back to the four elements."
"Abba, you have kindled my interest in this subject. I want to keep my soul fired up, as well as my body."
"In what way Avi?"
"By having real enthusiasm for Torah and mitzvos. To do them with a burning desire."
"Avi, may your ‘aish tomid' for mitzvos never be extinguished."
Kinderlach . . .
How do you sit down to learn Torah? With great enthusiasm? Rav Gifter zt"l's love for Torah was described as a fire. How do you pray? With all of your heart? How do you help people? With a smile on your face? Kinderlach, get fired up about Torah and mitzvos. Kindle your soul with a flame that will never go out.
Thank You Hashem
"Shalom Aleichem my old friend Reuven. How are you?"
"Baruch Hashem Ephraim. I am so happy that I ran into you today. I would like to invite you to a seudas mitzvah."
"I am so honored. What is the occasion?"
"Not so long ago, I was very sick."
"Through the chessed (kindness) of Hashem I recovered, and am standing here healthy today. Please come to the seudas hoda'ah (feast to give thanks to Hashem) to celebrate this wonderful event."
The night of the seudah arrives, and Reuven's home is full of friends and relatives, who have come to share in his simcha (happy event).
"I would just like to say a few words about the subject of hoda'ah - giving thanks to Hashem. If we were living in the times of the Beis HaMikdash, we would all be eating from the Korbon Todah (Thanksgiving Offering). This week's parasha speaks about this offering. Rashi comments (Vayikra 7:11) that four people are obligated to bring a korbon todah: those who have crossed the sea or the desert, those who have been freed from captivity, and those who have recovered from a dangerous illness. Along with this sacrifice, a shir was sung - Mizmor Li'Todah (Tehillim 100).
"The Malbim explains that when Hashem runs the world according to natural laws, He is like a King, sitting in His palace, governing the nation via his officers. When He performs a miracle, and saves someone from a danger, He leaves the palace and goes out amongst the people Himself, to personally govern them. Hashem put my life in danger, and then saved me in a miraculous way. He has shown His hashgacha pratis (personal supervision) over my life. Therefore, I thank Him for caring so much about me. How?
"‘Serve Hashem with happiness' (Tehillim 100:2). One who serves a mortal king is not sure if he will receive a reward for his service. Therefore, he is not happy until he receives the reward. The service alone does not give him happiness. On the other hand, one who serves the King of Kings knows that he will be rewarded in full for every deed. Therefore, he is happy while he is working. ‘Know that Hashem is G-d; He made us and we are His' (Tehillim 100:3). That knowledge brings a person true happiness."
Kinderlach . . .
Hashem is so kind to all of us. He gives us food, clothing, and shelter every day. He is so dependable, that it is easy to take Him for granted, chas v'shalom (Heaven forbid). Therefore, He needs to wake us up. He puts us into a situation where we clearly see His Hand guiding us. We are saved from danger. We are ecstatically happy. We focus this happiness on Him in thankful praise. Kinderlach let us thank and praise Him all of the time. Say the "Mizmor Li'Todah" prayer every morning with great feeling. "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise . . . For Hashem is good. His kindness endures forever."
Why does the Kohen change his clothes when taking out the ashes? (Rashi 6:4)
Who eats the oshom? (7:6)
How many different types of challos are brought with a korbon todah? (7:12-13)
What is done with the nossar (meat from the korbon that is not eaten within the prescribed time)? (7:17)
On which part of Aharon's body did Moshe place the blood? (8:24)
Kinder Torah Copyright 2004 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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