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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Vayikra

Nachas Ruach

"Sari, How was your walk with little Moishie?"

"Wonderful, Imma. First, I took him to the park. I played with him; I hugged him, and kissed him. Then I took him for a little walk in the forest. We saw a tortoise, deer, and many beautiful flowers and trees. He was fascinated."

"I am so proud of you, Sari. You give me such nachas ruach. You remind me of the korbonos (sacrifices) in the Beis HaMikdash."

"That is a pretty far jump from taking little Moishie for a walk to the korbonos in the Beis HaMikdash, Imma."

"It may seem far fetched Sari, but I will explain. The Torah (Vayikra 1:9) describes the Korbon Olah as having a rayach nichoach (pleasing aroma) for Hashem."

"Why does Hashem want or need a pleasing aroma Imma?"

"Excellent question, Sari. The answer begins with Rashi who explains that rayach nichoach really means nachas ruach. Hashem gets pleasure (so to speak) from the korbon."

"In what way, Imma?"

"In a similar way that your walk with Moishie gives me nachas ruach. Hashem gave us a Torah with 613 ways to serve Him. They are called the mitzvos. Why? Does He need our service? Of course not. He is perfect, complete, and lacks nothing. Rather, He wants to bestow good upon us. Therefore, He gave us 613 ways to improve ourselves and thereby grow closer to Him. The Beer Yitzchak explains that when we follow His wishes, Hashem is pleased (so to speak) in two ways. Firstly, we followed His Will. This allows Him to be good to us and draw us closer to Him. Secondly, He can now give us schar (reward) for fulfilling His Wishes. His greatest pleasure (so to speak) is to bestow good upon His creations. We have given Him the opportunity to do that by our serving Him properly. That is the rayach nichoach."

"That is truly beautiful, Imma. Now I think I understand how my walk with Moishie fits into the picture."

"How, Sari?"

"You asked me to take Moishie out because it is good for me. I am learning how to take care of little children. This will help me to be a better Imma with my own children, B'ezras Hashem. You get nachas because I am fulfilling your wishes, doing something good for me."

"Excellent, Sari. Now I can give you another reward. A nice big hug and kiss. I love you Sari. You are a wonderful daughter."

"I love you too, Imma."

Kinderlach . . .

Hashem does everything for us. He feeds us, clothes us, He sustains our lives. He created a whole world for us to enjoy. What can we ever do to repay Him? How can we give back some of the pleasure that He as given us? By doing his mitzvos. This is our avodah (service) nowadays, when we do not have korbonos. Do every mitzvah with all of your heart. Hashem will bring you close to Him, and reward you with unimaginable schar. That gives Him nachas ruach. That is His rayach nichoach.

Defeat Amalek

The end of the book of Shemos dealt with the construction and assembly of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The book of Vayikra begins with the sacrifices that were offered in the Mishkan. "From the cattle or from the flock you shall bring your offering," (Vayikra 1:2). Rabbeinu Bechaye elaborates on the types of animals that are fitting to be offered on the Mizbeach (Holy Altar). Domesticated animals that dwell in inhabited areas are brought as sacrifices to Hashem. They are the hunted ones, not the hunters. These kosher animals serve as a role model for the Jewish people. They are settled and live peaceful lives. Yaakov Avinu, a shepherd, chose to work among them. We are the descendants of Yaakov, Ish Tam, a straightforward person. Like these peaceful animals, and the Mizbeach that they are sacrificed upon, we bring peace into the world. Predatory animals that live in the wilderness are not suitable for sacrifices. They are the hunters. Eisav chose to live among them. He was a hunter who lived in the wilderness. His descendants and their way of live stand opposed to peacefulness. For the same reason, the Torah prohibited the use of iron on the Mizbeach. Iron and the weapons made from it are the instruments of war. They shorten the life of a person. They are the lot of Eisav.

Kinderlach . . .

On Purim, we celebrate the victory of the Jewish people over Haman, a descendant of Eisav and Amalek. Hashem with His Hidden Hand guiding the events, showed that the path of Torah is correct. "Its ways are pleasant, and all of its paths are peaceful," (Mishlei 3:17). Weapons, even if they are toys, are for Eisav and Amalek, not us. How ironic that Purim has become a time when many children frighten people with cap guns and firecrackers. The Torah forbids frightening a person, even if you do not endanger him. Throwing a firecracker or sparkler at someone is very dangerous and a much more serious sin. Purim is a time of happiness. Cap guns and firecrackers do not make anyone happy. This Purim let us celebrate our victory over Amalek by abandoning his ways and seeking only peace and happiness for everyone.

Parasha Questions

If the burning of feathers of birds' wings smell bad, why does the verse call it a "pleasing aroma?" (Rashi 1:17)

Why must every korbon mincha be salted? (1:13)

What type of flour was used in the korbonos mincha? (1:4,5,7)

Which korbon does the Kohen HaMoshiach bring if he sins? (4:3)

Which animal was brought for an oshom toluy? (5:18)

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