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Simcha Groffman

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


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Parashas Vayera

More Knowledge, More Deeds, More Nachas

"What are you doing, Avi?"

"I am preparing a Devar Torah, Chaim."

"How nice. Is it a Devar Torah for any special occasion or reason?"

"Yes, Chaim, it is very special. It is for my father."

"That's so good of you! When are you going to share this Devar Torah with your father?"

"At the Shabbos table."

"Wonderful, Avi! I just have one question for you. How do you know that your father likes Divrei Torah at the Shabbos table?"

"Because he says them himself. Every week my father prepares Divrei Torah to share with the whole family at the Shabbos table. He tries to make the subject matter interesting to everyone, so that we can all understand and participate. I concluded that if my father gets nachas when we listen to his Divrei Torah, how much more so he would get nachas when we prepare our own drashas. Therefore, I am preparing a Devar Torah for the Shabbos table to give my father nachas."

"That is so thoughtful, Avi. Your father must be so proud of you. Can you share your Devar Torah with me?"

"With pleasure, Chaim. It is from the commentary of Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, the author of the sefer Meshech Chochma, on this week's parasha (Bereshis 18:10). After the Akeidas Yitzchak, the malach (heavenly angel) of Hashem says to Avraham Avinu, 'Now I know that you fear the Almighty' (Bereshis 22:12). How did the malach know this? He observed Avraham's intense desire to fulfill the will of his Creator. Avraham Avinu had waited until age 100 for a son to be born to his wife Sara. We can only begin to imagine how much he cherished Yitzchak. Hashem commanded him to offer his precious son as a sacrifice. What was Avraham Avinu's reaction? He got up early in the morning to fulfill the ratzon (will of) Hashem. He carried out all of Hashem's wishes to the very end, when he raised the knife to shecht Yitzchak. At the last moment, the malach called him and told him to stop. 'Now I know that you fear the Almighty.'"

"Only someone with phenomenal yiras shomayim would have the courage to follow such a command."

"That was Avraham Avinu. Our holy forefather's entire life was a symphony of yiras shomayim. The Meshech Chochma compares yiras shomayim to the fear of one's father. One who reveres his father, and wants to fulfill his wishes will do two things. First, he will determine what gives his father pleasure, and what disturbs him. He will then do the things that his father enjoys, and refrain from those things that annoy him. That is how Avraham Avinu conducted his life. He did not receive the Torah at Har Sinai. Rather, he deduced it on his own. He contemplated the beauty and intricacy of the universe, and deduced that a Being of great wisdom must have created it. He then figured out what the Creator expected of him, and performed His wishes. In doing so, he set the precedent for our entire nation."

"Avraham wanted to please Hashem, just like a child wants to please his father."


"Avi, with your Devar Torah, you are emulating our holy forefather Avraham Avinu. You figured out that saying a Devar Torah at the Shabbos table gives your father nachas, therefore you are doing it. To take it even a step farther, we are all Hashem's children, as the verse states, 'You are children to Hashem, your G-d' (Devarim 14:1). He gave us the Torah; the positive and negative mitzvos. He makes it simple for us to give Him nachas - just perform the positive mitzvos, and refrain from violating the negative commandments. As we learn more Torah, we learn more mitzvos, more of their details, their meanings, and their kavannas (intentions). We subsequently perform more of them, more correctly, with more kavannah. This gives Hashem more, and more, and more nachas."

"Chaim, the greatest thing that we can accomplish in life is to give Hashem nachas. This is what we were created for, and this is our reason for being here. May we all succeed, just like our great ancestor Avraham Avinu!"


Kinderlach . . .

Nachas, nachas, nachas. That is what we want to give our parents; that is what we want to give our Father in heaven. It is very simple. Do the things that they like, and do not do what they dislike. We fear our parents and honor them. We fulfill their wishes. We fulfill Hashem's positive and negative mitzvos. Let us make our lives one big symphony of nachas, just like our patriarch, 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 teshuva (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."

Parasha Questions:

Who were the Gedolim of Avraham's generation? (Rashi 21:8)

Who had greater ruach hakodesh, Avraham or Sara? (Rashi 21:12)

According to which deeds is a person judged? (Rashi 21:17)

Kinder Torah Copyright 2008 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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