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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
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Parashas Va'eira

Yom Zeh Mechubad

"Kinderlach, may I share with you something that happened today?"

"Yes, Abba. We love hearing stories, especially when they are true."

"We were privileged to have an Odom Godol (Torah giant) come to the Yeshiva to give a shiur today. Everyone was learning very strongly; the Beis HaMedrash was filled with the beautiful music of Torah she-bial-peh. Then our special guest appeared at the door. The room hushed quiet and everyone stood up to give kovod (honor) to the Rav. He himself was the epitome of honor, dressed humbly but dignified in his frock and homburg. It was a beautiful sight to see hundreds of talmidim honoring such a respectable person. Now, I have a question for you, kinderlach. How is this story related to the zemer 'Yom Zeh Mechubad'?"

"Just like you honored the Odom Godol, Abba, so too we honor the Shabbos."

"Excellent, Esti. Why does the Rav deserve honor, and why does the Shabbos deserve honor?"

"We honor the Odom Godol because of his Torah knowledge. We honor the Shabbos because Hashem rested on that day."

"Wonderful, Ahuva. That is the first verse of 'Yom Zeh Mechubad'."

"Please explain it to us Abba."

"With pleasure, kinderlach. 'This day is honored above all other days, for on it the Creator of the Universe rested.

"'For six days you shall do your work, but the seventh day is for Hashem. On Shabbos do no work, because He created everything in six days.

"'Shabbos is the first of our 'mikra'ay kodesh' (holy days appointed to meet with Hashem). We sanctify it by reciting Kiddush over wine. What is so special about wine? The Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 31) relates that a person becomes spiritually elevated when he is happy and satisfied. Wine uplifts a person by satisfying him and making him happy. We then begin our sumptuous meal (in honor of Shabbos) by making a motzi over two whole loaves. This is a remembrance of the two loaves of mun that we received in the midbar.

"'We eat rich foods, we drink sweet drinks. Rashi explains the gemora (Beitza 16a) that the 'neshama yesayra' (extra soul) that we receive on Shabbos allows us to rest, be happy, and eat rich foods that would not please us during the week. We do not worry about the expenses, because Hashem provides for all who are close to Him. He gives them clothing to wear, a portion of bread, and many delicacies.

"'You will lack nothing on this day! You will eat, be satisfied, and bless Hashem, your G-d, Whom you love, for He has blessed you beyond all other nations.'"

"Klal Yisrael is so blessed, Abba! We have Hashem, His Torah, His mitzvos, and His holy days. We have it good in this world and we have eternity ... olam habo!"

"Wonderful, kinderlach! And so we complete this beautiful zemer. 'The heavens declare His glory, and also the earth is filled with His acts of loving-kindness. See that His Hand has made all of this. For He is the Creator; His work is perfect!"

Kinderlach . . .

It is our privilege to give honor to the Shabbos, because it is the most honorable of all days! Hashem rested (so to speak) on this day, therefore we rest. We proclaim the sanctity of the day when we make Kiddush. We honor the day with delicious food and special clothes. We trust in Hashem that He will repay all the expenses of honoring the Shabbos. Finally, we bless Him for all of the blessings that He has bestowed upon us! "Yom Zeh Mechubad!" What a wonderful day.

Execute Four

"Who is Hashem that I should heed His voice to send out Israel?" (Shemos 5:2). With these words, Paroh committed a heinous crime. He spoke loshon hora against the Creator of the World. What is the punishment for such a sin? The Gemora (Erechin 15b) states that one who speaks loshon hora transgresses the equivalent of all three capitol crimes: idolatry, immorality, and murder. Those who commit these crimes receive four types of death penalties: stoning, burning, decapitation, and strangulation.

The Keli Yakar (Shemos 9:14) relates that the plague of borod (hail) came as a punishment for the loshon hora that Paroh spoke. He goes on to explain how the borod corresponded to the four death penalties. The hailstones came down and stoned the people to death: stoning. They cracked open, fire came out, and burned people to death: burning. "The borod beheaded their grapevines (Tehillim 78:47). Is it possible to cut off the head of a grapevine? Surely not. The verse refers to the elite of Mitzraim, who are compared to grapevines. They were killed by the borod: beheading. Torrents of rain fell along with the hail. Fields were flooded and Mitzrim may have drowned. Drowning is a form of strangulation. And so, we see a horrible punishment for a terrible crime.

Kinderlach . . .

How bad can loshon hora be? After all, everyone lets a bad word slip out here and there. Our sages tell us that it is as bad as the worst crimes. That is truly frightening. In the days of the Beis HaMikdash, people were stricken with tsoraas, a terrible disease. Mitzraim was plagued with borod. These do not exist in our days, but Hashem has His ways. The Chofetz Chaim relates that one who guards his tongue will have a good life in this world and the next. Watch what you say, and enjoy the good life.

Parasha Questions:

Why did Hashem harden Pharaoh's heart? (Rashi 7:3)

Why did Hashem plague the Nile river first? (Rashi 7:17)

How long did Moshe warn Paroh about the makkos, and how long did the last? (7:25 and Rashi)

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