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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Va'eira

The Best You

"Shalom Yoni! How was school today?"

"Not so good."

"Oy vey, Yoni. I am sorry to hear that. What happened?"

"Do you remember the test that I studied so hard for last week?"

"The one on Chumash Parashas Va'eira?"

"Yes, that's the one. I studied and reviewed my hardest - at least seven hours."

"That's great, Yoni."

"It might sound great, but I only got a 75 on the test. I was so disappointed. My friend Sruli told me that he only studied two hours, and he got a 95. What can I do Abba? I'll never be as good as Sruli."

"Yoni, dear, I understand how you feel. Come let me give you a big hug. Everyone wants to get the best grade in the class. However, you should know something. You did just fine. I'll even bring you a proof from this week's parasha."

"Really? Show me Abba."

"Look at this verse, 'This was Aharon and Moshe . . .' (Shemos 6:26). The Torah is listing all of the sons and grandsons of Yaakov Avinu. Rashi takes note that the Torah mentions Aharon's name before Moshe. This is not unusual. In many places, Moshe is mentioned first, and in many places, Aharon is mentioned first. Why? To teach us that they carried equal weight (as far as their spiritual level)."

"That is surprising. Our teacher said that Moshe was the Prince of all prophets, the only one who spoke with Hashem face to face. How could Aharon be on the same level?"

"Excellent, Yoni. Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l is astounded by the very same question. See, you know the Chumash better than you think."

"Thank you Abba. What is Rav Moshe's answer?"

"He explains that Aharon performed his service to Hashem perfectly. All of his days, he did what Hashem asked of him to the best of his abilities. One cannot do any better than that. His younger brother Moshe had greater abilities; therefore, more was demanded of him. Moshe did indeed do more than Aharon, however they were equal in the sense that they both served Hashem with all of their koach (strength)."

"I see, Abba."

"Therefore, I am telling you Yoni dear, that you are the best. If you studied your hardest for that test, then you got 100%! You used all of your koach. You can't do any better than that."

"Abba, that makes me feel good, however, the other boys get all the glory."

"My dear Yoni, listen to what Rav Moshe says. After 120 years, in the Olam HaEmes (World of Truth), we see that our world is upside down. Some of those who are on top, here, are low over there. And some of the people who are perceived as low over here, are on top over there."

"How, Abba?"

"Those who tried their hardest are really on top. They may not have scored the highest on the test, but they really got 100% in their Avodas Hashem. Others who scored very well on test may be very intelligent. They may not need to use all of their abilities to get a perfect grade. Therefore, they are not serving Hashem with 100% of their abilities. In the Olam HaEmes, they did not get a 100%. Therefore, they are not on top."

"Amazing, Abba. So I really did get 100%."

"Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Yoni. You really are the best, and I'm very proud of you."

Kinderlach . . .

We all have to be "the best". How is that possible? There is only one "the best". Everyone else is at best, second best. However, in Avodas Hashem, everyone can be "the best". Because "the best" means the best you that you can be. Hashem gave everyone different talents and strengths. Some people are smarter, some people are stronger, some people are taller, and some people are more creative. Each has his own abilities; therefore, each has his own way to serve Hashem. Hashem wants you to do your best, with the gifts that He gave you. Then you will be "the best". 100% all the way.

Working Together

"Why is the sky darkening?"

"There are strange things in the sky. Those white and gray things."

"I know what they are. Once I traveled to a far away land and saw them. They are called clouds."

"We never have clouds here in Mitzraim."

"That is because it never rains here. We get all of our water from the river. I wonder why the sky is now filled with clouds."

Suddenly a loud crashing noise is heard. Flashes of light fly through the dark sky. The people of Mitzraim are terrified. They have never experienced thunder or lightning before.

"What is that? The gods are angry with us. What shall we do?"

Hail begins to fall from the sky.

"What is this? The sky is falling! It looks like pieces of ice. Ouch they hurt."

"It cannot be ice. When it hits the ground, it breaks open and there is fire inside. Fire cannot burn inside of ice."

"Oh no. It looks very miraculous. It must be another plague from the G-d of the Jews."

The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh comments that fire and water are two opposite extremes. They cannot co-exist. Either the amount of water is great enough to extinguish the fire, or the heat of the fire is great enough to evaporate the water. However, this case was different. The fire and water were messengers of Hashem, sent to do a job for Him. The fire changed its nature and burned inside of the ice, in order to do the will of Hashem.

Kinderlach . . .

"I can't work with you. You are too sloppy." "What do you mean? You are too neat. It stifles my creativity." "I can never travel anywhere with you. You are always late." "Have we ever missed the bus on account of me?" "No, but we are always rushing." We can all think of many reasons why we cannot work together. We are just too different. Are we more different than fire and ice? They were able to work together to do Hashem's will. We are all striving to do Hashem's will. Cleaning the house for Shabbos, traveling together to a seudas mitzvah, getting ready for school in the morning, are all Hashem's will. We can surely overcome our differences and work together at these times. Pretty soon, we will realize that everything can be done according to Hashem's will. Then we will always be working together. What a wonderful world it will be!

Parasha Questions

Why did the Bnei Yisrael not listen to Moshe? (6:9)

Why would Paroh not listen to Moshe? (6:12)

How old were Moshe and Aharon when they appeared before Paroh? (7:7)

Where did Moshe warn Paroh about the makko of dam (blood)? (7:15)

How many days did the makko of dam last? (7:25)

How many frogs came out of the river? (8:2 and Rashi)

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