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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Vayera

Dedicated in Memory of Yaakov Ben Moshe z"l

Rx Visit

"Hashem appeared to him in the plains of Mamre while he was sitting in the tent in the heat of the day" (Bereshis 18:1). The Tosfos HaRosh zt"l points out that this verse in unique. Nowhere else does the Torah state that Hashem appeared. "Hashem said", "Hashem called", "Hashem spoke"; these are how Hashem's actions are described. Why, here, did Hashem only appear to Avraham Avinu. Rashi explains that Hashem came to mevaker choleh (visit the sick). It was not necessary for Him to say anything. Just a visit is enough to help the sick person. "The verse is coming to teach us derech eretz (proper conduct)," says the Tosfos HaRosh. A person should visit the sick, even if he does not say anything. If he finds the sick person asleep, he does not need to wait until he is awake to speak to him. Just leaving a message that he visited will give the sick person nachas ruach (a calm spirit). Our sages relate many benefits for one who visits the sick. Hashem will guard him from the yetzer hara (evil inclination), protect him from suffering, bestow honor upon him, and give him beloved friends. Visiting a sick person removes 1/60 of his suffering. The visitor prolongs the person's life. There is no limit to the number of times that one can visit a sick person - even 100 times a day! (Nedarim 39b-40a). The Scheinah (Divine Presence) rests above the head of a sick person (Rashi - Bereshis 47:31).

Kinderlach . . .

"Shall I go to visit Yossie in the hospital? He is recovering from a minor operation. He probably has many visitors. He may be sleeping. We are not such close friends. What will I say to him? I have other things to do. Maybe I will just skip this mitzvah. Wait a minute. I remember that the visitor does not even need to speak to the sick person. Just knowing that someone cared enough to visit, is enough to make the sick person feel better. Yossie, I'm on my way!"

Change the World

"Abba, can you help me with my homework again?"

"Sure Shloimie. Last week we learned about the ten tests that Avraham Avinu passed." "That was great Abba. This week's question is, 'Was Avraham Avinu the only one of his generation who worshipped Hashem?" "That is an excellent question Shloimie. Noach's son Shem served Hashem. He and Ever opened a Beis HaMedrash. They had students there who served Hashem. They had perfected themselves to the point where they reached the spiritual level of prophecy." "I never knew that Abba. Avraham was not alone in his service of Hashem. Your answer leads me to the Rebbe's next question." "Go ahead Shloimie." "Why did Avraham, and not the others, merit to be the father of a nation?" "Now that is a really good question. We know that Yaakov Avinu went to learn for fourteen years in the Beis HaMedrash of Shem and Ever. They were surely outstanding Torah personalities. Why was Avraham chosen to be the father of our nation, while Shem and Ever's descendants were forgotten? Shloimie, the Chofetz Chaim zt"l asks this question." "Wow." "He answers that Avraham was concerned for Hashem's honor. He saw that only a few people served Hashem in this generation. These people would not live forever, and then Hashem would be forgotten from the world. Avraham could not bear this thought. Therefore, he set out to teach everyone that he could about serving Hashem. They must recognize Hashem and follow His ways." "Avraham set out to change the world, Abba." "Exactly, Shloimie. He succeeded. The Jewish people, his descendants, have carried the Honor of Hashem throughout the generations."

Kinderlach . . .

What are you doing now? Where are you going? What are you thinking about? Are you doing the right thing? There is one answer to all of these questions. I am thinking about Hashem and His Honor. Everything that I do is for Him. If you judge all of your actions in these terms, then you will always do the right thing. Just like Avraham Avinu.

Care for Everyone

"The outcry of Sdom and Amorah is great. Their sin is very grave" (Bereshis 18:20). With this, Hashem informed Avraham Avinu that He was going to destroy Sdom. "Will You destroy the tsaddik along with the rasha? (Bereshis 18:23). Avraham Avinu pleaded with Him to overturn the judgment. He wanted Hashem to have mercy on the Sdomites. Could it be? Avraham Avinu stood for the opposite of Sdom. He spent his whole life engaged in chessed (kindness) and sanctifying Hashem's Name, while the people of Sdom were doing nothing but cruel acts 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. However, Avraham was such a caring person, that he wanted them to do tshuva (correct their evil ways) rather than die. Therefore, he prayed that they might be saved.

Kinderlach . . .

"Who is that struggling with those packages? Let me see if he needs help. It's Mordechai. I don't really want to help him. He said something very embarrassing about me this morning. How can I help him after that? Wait a minute. We learned about Avraham Avinu today in class. How he prayed for the people of Sdom, even though they were so cruel and he was so kind. If he could help them, I can certainly help Mordechai." "Mordechai. Let me give you a hand." "Thank you Moshe. I have been meaning to apologize to you for what I said this morning. You are really a special person. I don't know anyone else who would help me after what I said." "I know someone, Mordechai." "Who?" "Avraham Avinu."

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