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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei (Parshas HaChodesh)

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The Wise Heart

The Torah uses the expression chacham leiv many times in this week's parsha. Literally translated chacham leiv means wise heart. Rav Leib Chasman zt"l asks the following question. When we speak about wisdom, we usually refer to the head, not the heart. Why does the Torah refer to the heart as being wise and not the head? A chacham (wise man) is not someone who is only able to speak and repeat words of wisdom. A true chacham is someone who internalizes these words of wisdom into his heart. He lives by them. That is why he is referred to as chacham leiv. As it says in the verse in Kriyas Shema (Bamidbar 15:39), "Do not search after your heart and your eyes." Rashi explains that the heart controls the desires and motivations of a person. If we put wisdom into our hearts, then our whole lives will be governed by wisdom.

Children . . .

How do we put wisdom into our hearts? When we learn a piece of wisdom in the Torah, we take it to heart and do what it says. When you learn a new halacha (Torah law), put it into practice. What if you had just learned the halachos of returning lost objects? On your way home from school you see a lost object. Wonderful! Hashem has given you the opportunity to apply what you just learned! Let us say that you had learned the halachos of netilas yadayim (washing hands before eating bread). The next time that you wash, you will do it much more carefully and correctly, because you have learned all about it. When you implement what you learn children, you will become real chachmei leiv.

Quickly

What was the contribution of the Princes of the Jewish people to the Mishkan (Tabernacle)? They brought the precious stones for the apron and the breastplate (Bereshis 35:27). This seems like a relatively small gift compared to the huge amounts of silver and gold brought by the rest of the nation. Rashi explains that the Princes offered to supply anything that was lacking after all the other contributions were made. The Jewish people were so generous, that nothing was lacking. In fact, they gave more than was needed. There was nothing left for the Princes to contribute! When the time came for the inauguration of the Mishkan, the Princes brought their gifts first. Although each of their twelve gifts was identical, the Torah describes each one individually in detail. Altogether, 72 verses (Bamidbar 6:12-83) are written describing the gifts. We all know that the Torah does not waste words. Why then is the same thing repeated twelve times? The Chofetz Chaim zt"l explains that the Torah is teaching us a lesson in zerizus (quickness). The Princes gave their gifts the second time with zerizus. Hashem is showing us how dear it is to Him when people do His mitzvos with zerizus. The gemora writes (Pesachim 4a) "People who are quick do their mitzvos early."

Children . . .

Let us try to have a contest to see who can be the first one to wash after kiddush this Shabbos. Who will be the first one to be ready for school in the morning? Who will be the first one to change into pajamas in the evening? If zerizus is so dear to Hashem that He devoted 72 verses to it in the Torah, then it is surely important for us to try to do all of our mitzvos with zerizus.

Trustworthiness

In the beginning of parshas Pikudei, Moshe Rabbeinu gives a precise accounting of all of the gold, silver, and brass that were donated to the construction of the Mishkan. He lists how much of each was collected, and exactly what they were used for. Rabbeinu Bechaye describes Moshe Rabbeinu and a man of trust. "He is the trusted one in all My house," (Bamidbar 12:7). Hashem trusted Moshe to be the keeper of all the treasures of the Mishkan. If Hashem trusted Moshe then surely he would never steal anything. Why then did Moshe Rabbeinu have to give an accounting to the people? Rabbeinu Bechaye writes, "Just as a person has to fulfill his obligations to Hashem, so too he must fulfill his obligations to his fellow man." Even though he is honest, and Hashem knows that he is honest, he must still make sure that people know of his honesty. This is what the verse (Bamidbar 32:22) means when it says, "And you shall be clean (of suspicion) from Hashem and from Yisrael." One has to place himself above suspicion.

Children . . .

Do you see how even a trustworthy person had to be careful not to appear suspicious? How does this apply to us? When we go out to play, we should be considerate and tell Imma where we are going, and whom we are going to play with. Perhaps she might worry about us. When we come home from school, we should tell Imma about our homework assignments and tests. We can also tell Imma that we have finished our homework. Then she will know that we are keeping up with our studies. We all know how much Abba and Imma love and care about us. We can show our appreciation by being sensitive to their concerns about us.

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Simcha Groffman


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