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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Vayelech

Give Honor to the Torah

"Let us all ascribe greatness to our G-d, and give honor to the Torah" (a passage from the prayer said by the gabbai when calling the first aliyah to the Torah).

"Abba, it is amazing how much honor is given to the Torah when it is taken out of the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark), read, and returned to its place."

"Can you give me some examples, Avi?"

"Surely, Abba. We stand from the moment the Aron Kodesh is opened until the sefer Torah is resting on the Shulchan. We escort the sefer Torah from the Aron Kodesh to the table where it is read. The chazzan holds it in his right hand, even if he is a lefty. We show our great love for Torah by kissing the sefer Torah and also bringing the children to kiss it. We do not speak (even divrei Torah) from the time the sefer Torah is opened before the reading until after it is read. We listen carefully to every word of the reading. Some stand the entire time that the Torah is being read."ii Ishei Yisrael 38 "Very astute observations, Avi! Do you know why we give so much honor to the Torah?"

"I have a few ideas, Abba. Hashem gave the Torah to Moshe Rabbeinu and the entire nation of Israel on Har Sinai. It is a book of detailed instructions of how to conduct ourselves and serve the Almighty. It is referred to as the ratzon (the will of) Hashem. Fulfilling His ratzon gives us life, for He gives life to those who do His will.iii See Devarim 32:47 It also gives Him nachas ruach, and therefore is the most important and exalted thing that we can accomplish with our lives! This sefer Torah that we are reading is the physical representation and embodiment of His ratzon. What deserves more honor than that?"

"Excellent, Avi! There is an additional way that we honor the Torah."

"What is that, Abba?"

"The magbiah lifts up the sefer Torah for everyone to see."

"When he does it, I see everyone going in close to get a good look."

"Correct, Avi. It is a mitzvah to see the letters clearly enough to read them. This will cause a great light to shine upon a person."iiii Orach Chaim 134:2 Mishna Brura 11 from mystical sources

"May we all merit to receive it."

"Come let us honor Hashem's Torah, thereby inspiring us to learn it and fulfill it, and give nachas ruach to our Creator."

Kinderlach . . .

The Torah existed before the creation of the world. The Creator looked into the Torah and created the world. He gave this most precious gift to His chosen nation, Israel, as the verse states, "For I have given you a good teaching, do not forsake My Torah."iiv Mishlei 4:2

We have not forsaken it, rather we put it at the very center of our lives, for it is our life and gives us life. When they take out the sefer Torah to read it kinderlach, give it the utmost honor. "Let us all ascribe greatness to our G-d, and give honor to the Torah!"

Everyone Is Going

"Do I really have to go, Abba?"

"Yes, Avi."

"Who else is going?"

"The whole family - Imma and I, and all of your brothers and sisters."

"What about Saba and Savta?"

"They are going also."

"Uncle Aaron and Aunt Rachel?"

"Yes, along with their children."

"What about the next-door neighbors?"

"They are all going - even the little infant and their great-grandfather."

"Everybody on our street?"

"Of course."

"Is there anyone who is not going?"

"Not that I know of."

"But why? It must be a very important event if everyone is going."

"It is. Once event seven years, the entire Jewish nation - men, women, and children, gathers together on the second day of Succos in the Beis HaMikdash."

"What do they do over there?"

"They listen."

"That's good. You always tell me that it is important to listen. What do they listen to?"

"Words of Torah, from the beginning of Sefer Devarim."

"But we just read the beginning of Sefer Devarim two months ago in the Beis HaKinesses. Didn't they hear it then?"

"Okay, Avi. I will tell you the whole story. We are going to perform a very important mitzvah called Hakhel. The Sefer HaChinuch explains that we gather the entire Jewish nation together to perform this mitzvah. The foundation of Klal Yisrael is the Torah. It is what separates us from the other nations. It is or glory and our greatness. It guarantees us a wonderful life, in this world and the next. Therefore, it is only fitting that we gather everyone together to hear these words of Torah. This demonstrates its paramount importance. In addition, it fills everyone's heart with a tremendous desire to learn Torah. From learning Torah, they will come to know Hashem, and merit to receive all of His goodness."

"Wow. It really is important to go. I want to be a part of this National Mitzvah. When everyone gets together, I want to be there."

Kinderlach . . .

What is the most important thing in our lives? The Torah. We have no mitzvah of Hakhel in our days. How do we show the importance of the Torah? We stand up and kiss the Sefer Torah when it is removed from the Aron Kodesh. We stand up when a Talmid Chochom approaches us. He is a living Sefer Torah. Most importantly, we learn Torah with all of our koach (strength). We listen to shiurim (Torah lectures). We stretch our minds to understand Hashem's Word. And we review it many times until we remember it. It becomes a part of us. It sinks into our bones and our hearts. And it guides our lives. Kinderlach, you should all be adorned with the glorious crown of Torah.

i Ishei Yisrael 38
ii See Devarim 32:47
iii Orach Chaim 134:2 Mishna Brura 11 from mystical sources
iv Mishlei 4:2

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