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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Vayishlach

Menucha Vi'Simcha

"Abba, we enjoyed the zemer Kol Mekadesh so much! Your explanation really revealed its meaning to us."

"I also enjoyed it tremendously, kinderlach. I really felt the truth of the Rav's statement that when the father explains the words of the zemer and the family sings it together; heaven comes down and connects with the earth. Let's do it again with Menucha Vi'Simcha."

"Great, Abba!"

"'Rest, happiness, and light - these are for the Jews on Shabbos, the day of delights.' Our sages relate that the upper worlds also take pleasure in Shabbos, because it brings blessing to all the worlds. 'Those who guard and remember it bear witness that in six days all was created and still endures.' The Mechilta (parashas Yisro) brings out a fascinating point. The Ten Commandments were etched on two tablets in two columns. Each commandment in the first column has a corresponding one opposite it in the second column. The commandment of remembering Shabbos stands opposite the commandment of, 'You shall not bear false witness against your fellow' (Shemos 20:13). One who keeps the Shabbos testifies that Hashem created the world in six days and rested on the seventh."

"What an enjoyable way to testify!"

"The composer of 'Menucha Vi'Simcha', whose name Moshe is spelled out by the first letter of the first three stanzas, then goes on to describe the creation of the world. Its intricacy bespeaks the awesomeness of the Creator. On the first day, He created heaven and earth. On the second day, He strengthened the heavens. Day three saw the creation of the seas, and day four the sun, moon, and stars. Sea creatures were created on the fifth day, man, and beast on the sixth day. With the holy name 'yud - heh' He created the two worlds - this world with the 'heh', and the next world with the 'yud'.

"Next, kinderlach, Hashem commanded us to be like Him! 'He spoke to us, His treasured nation, to guard and sanctify the Shabbos from its arrival to departure ... for on it the Almighty rested from all of his work.'"

"Abba, when we rest on Shabbos and sanctify it, we emulate Hashem, because He rested on Shabbos and sanctified it."

"Exactly kinderlach. The zemer continues, 'In the merit of the mitzvos of Shabbos, Hashem strengthens us! Come! Arise! Pray to Him! He will rush to strengthen you!' We say the special prayer of 'nishmas kol chai' - 'the soul of all living things bless Your name.' The Levush (Orach Chaim 281:1) relates that the tefillah 'nishmas' hints to the 'neshama yeseyra' (extra soul) that we have on Shabbos. With that 'neshama yeseyra', we can gain more wisdom on Shabbos than any other day of the week. We have another special prayer of 'na'aritzach' that we recite in the kedusha of Mussaf of Shabbos. After we pray with such special fervor on Shabbos, we return home to 'eat in gladness, because Hashem has already shown us favor' by accepting our special prayers of the Shabbos."

"Abba, what chizuk (reinforcment) you have given us to pray with kavannah (concentration) this Shabbos!"

"B'ezras Hashem, kinderlach. Now we complete the zemer with a description of the Shabbos meal. 'With mishna lechem (two loaves) and kiddush rabba (the kiddush before the morning meal), with abundant delicacies and a generous spirit.' That is how we serve Hashem with our eating on Shabbos. What is our reward for this? 'They will merit much good, those who take pleasure in it (both in this world, and) with the coming of the redeemer and life in the World to Come!'"

"Wonderful, Abba! Hashem is unbelievably good! He gives Shabbos, us a day which is totally good, holy, and full of pleasure. When we guard, sanctify, and enjoy the pleasures of Shabbos, He then gives us a reward of even greater pleasure in the next world, to bask in the glow of the Shechina (Divine Presence)! Thank you Hashem for Shabbos! Thank you Abba for illuminating the zemer for us!"

Kinderlach . . .

Shabbos is a day of total pleasure and delight. Enjoy it! Guard its holiness! Testify that Hashem created the world! Emulate Hashem by resting! Pray the special prayers of the day, and eat the special meals. You reward will be even more pleasure! Appreciate Hashem's goodness. It is endless.

Wrestling Match

The two men struggled mightily. Each was very strong, a formidable opponent. On and on they fought, throughout the entire night. Neither could gain the upper hand. This was no ordinary wrestling match. This was the battle between Yaakov and the angel of his twin brother Eisav. This was the prelude of a struggle that continues to this very day.

The Malbim explains that Yaakov is the power of ruchnius (spirituality) in this world. Opposing him is Eisav, the embodiment of all that is gashmius (physical). The two forces combine in the body and soul of a man. And so, the struggle continues within each individual person, to subjugate the physical to the spiritual. The same conflict exists between these two nations. When the Jewish people, the descendants of Yaakov, choose the spiritual path, observing Hashem's Torah and mitzvos properly, Edom, the descendants of Eisav, subjugate themselves. Then Hashem can give Yaakov his blessing, as it was during the days of the Beis HaMikdash, "The voice is Yaakov's and the hands are Eisav's" (Bereshis 27:22). On the other hand, when the Nation of Israel abandons Hashem, chas v'shalom (Heaven forbid) this gives Eisav the power to gain the upper hand. Golus (exile) and Jewish suffering are the result.

Eisav's whole purpose is to take Yaakov away from Hashem by getting him involved in the gashmius. Yet, his angel was not able to succeed. Yaakov did not succumb. The spiritual overcame the physical. He gave us the power to overcome our own private battle with the Yetzer Hora. We will not give in.

Kinderlach . . .

The lure of the physical world confronts us every step of our lives. Sumptuous food, fancy clothing, prestigious job, and super- technology, are all very attractive. It is a real battle to keep them under control. How will we do it? Will we let them overcome us and drag us downward? Or, will let our neshama (soul) be the boss and use them properly for Avodas Hashem (Serving Hashem). Allow the ruchnius (Torah and mitzvos) to guide the gashmius. This is the battle that Yaakov Avinu won. In doing so, he instilled within us the power to win. We can overcome Eisav. Choose the ruchnius. Yaakov will prevail.

Parasha Questions:

What is the meaning of the name "pineal"? (32:31)

Why did Yosef approach Eisav before Rachel? (33:7 and Rashi)

How long did Yaakov stay in Succos? (Rashi 34:17)

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