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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Vayera

Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Jay Greeneberg of Wynnewood, PA

Three Lessons

"It's very hot here today. And I am very weak, only three days after my bris mila. And I am in pain. And I am getting old. But nothing pains me as much as the fact that there are no guests coming to visit me today. I'll send Eliezer my servant out to look for guests."

Eliezer goes out and looks but can find no guests.

"Maybe he didn't look carefully enough. I'll go out and look myself. I don't see any guests."

At this point, Hashem begins speaking to Avraham telling him that He made the day hot to heal Avraham. The heat is beneficial to healing. Avraham sees three guests coming and asks Hashem to wait while he tends to the guests.

"If it finds favor in your eyes, Hashem, please do not go away from your servant."

"Please, my honored guests, take a little water. I will get some bread for you. Now that I'm doing a mitzvah, I forgot all about my aches and pains and the hot weather."

Avraham then proceeds to run and tell Sarah to bake three fresh loaves of bread for them. He then slaughters three choice cows, so that each guest can have an entire tongue, the choicest meat. He takes butter and milk and prepares a sumptuous meal (fit for a king) for his guests.

Children . . .

What do we learn from this episode?

Avraham Avinu loved to do chessed (acts of kindness). In fact, he was in pain because he could not do chessed. He even went out and looked for people to help and ways to help them. Shouldn't we try to be like Avraham Avinu? Why wait for people to ask us to help them? Lets look for ways to help others. Who can think of ways to help Imma in the house? How about helping our brothers, sisters, neighbors, and classmates? How did Avraham do the chessed? With all of his heart. He ran to prepare and serve the food. He picked the choicest foods and served them in huge quantities. He gave his guests the treat of their lives. Let's all try to be like him and treat people royally.

Children . . .

Avraham Avinu didn't let his personal discomforts get in the way of doing what he was supposed to do. He was hot and achy and weak and old. But he forgot all about it when there was a mitzvah of chessed to do. We sometimes make excuses for not doing mitzvos. Imma asks us to get out of bed in the morning. "I'm tired!" We are cranky because we're hungry. Imma asks us to get into pajamas. "I'm busy coloring." If Avraham Avinu could do what he did with all of his aches and pains, then what excuse do we have?

Children . . .

In Pirkei Avos (1:15) Shammai says . . . say a little but do a lot. The Gemora in Bava Metzia 87a teaches us that we learn from Avraham Avinu that tsaddikim say a little and do a lot. How many times do we say we are going to do things and do not follow through? "I'm coming Imma, just five more minutes." "Yes, I'll help you with your homework." "I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that." Tsaddikim and tsidkanios just do things without making a fuss and a lot of talk.

The Power of a Good Deed

Lot, Avraham's nephew, lived in Sdom. As good and kind and caring as Avraham Avinu was, that's how evil and cruel the people of Sdom were. It was illegal to be nice to people in Sdom. Guests were discouraged from coming, and if they did come, they were tortured until they left. Even though Sdom was full of wicked and cruel people, Hashem was willing to save the five cities if there were just 45 tsaddikim there.

Children . . .

We see from this the tremendous power of the good deeds of a tsaddik. They are able to uphold even an entire city of wicked people. We should not take any mitzvah of act of kindness lightly. It has a tremendous impact on the world, far beyond what we may think.

Care for Everyone

When Hashem informed Avraham Avinu that He was going to destroy Sdom, Avraham Avinu pleaded with Him to overturn the judgment. He wanted Hashem to have mercy on the Sdomites. Now, Avraham Avinu stood for the opposite of Sdom. He spent his whole life engaged in chessed and sanctifying Hashem's Name, while the people of Sdom were doing nothing but cruelty and desecrating Hashem's Name. One might think that when Avraham Avinu heard that Sdom would be destroyed, he would be happy. His biggest enemies in this world were finally getting what they deserved. But he was such a caring person, that he wanted them to do tshuva rather than die. So he prayed that they might be saved. With Hashem's help, we should all reach the level of kindness as Avraham Avinu.

Enjoy your Shabbos Table!

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Simcha Groffman

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