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Simcha Groffman

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


Who's Counting?

"Do you have everything that you will need?"

"I'm not sure. Let's go through the checklist again."

Slowly they went down the list together, checking off every item.

"Everything is in order. You are now ready to leave on your mission. Remember, when you are finished you will have to return back here and give an accounting of everything that you were given to use on your mission."

"I understand."

"You should have much success. May Hashem be with you."

He made his way down the narrow tunnel until he was out of sight. When he reached the other end of the tunnel, two hands gently pulled him out.

"Mazel tov! Mazel tov! Your wife has just given birth to a baby boy."

"These are the accounts of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)" (Shemos 38:21). The Torah proceeds to give an exact accounting of all the gold, silver, and copper that was used in the building of the Mishkan. Why was this accounting necessary? Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l answers that the Torah is teaching us a very important lesson. A person must give an accounting of everything that Hashem has given to him. What did he do with the precious time that Hashem gave him on this earth? Did he learn Torah and do mitzvos? Or did he waste his time on frivolities. What did he do with the livelihood that Hashem gave him? Did he give tsedaka? Was he blessed with good health? Intelligence? Skills? What did he do with all of these gifts? A person should not think that he can do whatever he pleases. He will have to give an accounting for everything.

Kinderlach . . .

We are on a mission called life. Hashem gave us many things to use on this mission. He has a checklist of everything. He wants the best for us, therefore, He gave us the Torah which instructs us how to use everything. When we follow its instructions we will be the best that we can be. Did you learn well today? Or did you waste your time spent in school. Did you thank Imma for preparing a delicious meal for you? Or did you let the opportunity to express your gratitude slip by. Did you give tsedaka to the poor man who was collecting? Did you eat good healthy food that will make you stronger and healthier? Or did you waste your appetite on junk food. Hashem is keeping count of everything that you do. He wants you to give a good accounting. This will earn something very special for you . . . a good name.

Make a Name for Yourself

"See, Hashem has proclaimed the name of Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur of the tribe of Yehuda" (Shemos 35:30). The Medrash elaborates the many virtues of a good name. "A good name is better than good oil" (Koheles 7:1). The fragrance of good oil can only fill one room. However, a good name goes from one end of the world to the other. Rashi zt"l adds that oil flows downward from the head to the beard, but a good name keeps going higher and higher. Good oil lasts a short time, but a good name is forever.

"The day of death (is better than) the day of birth" (ibid). Why? On the day of birth, we do not know what a person will become. When he dies, his deeds become known. The Ibn Ezra zt"l explains that the verse connects the two concepts of a good name and the day of death to teach that a person's deeds determine his name. Good deeds will earn a good name. We proclaim Hashem's Good Name in our daily prayers, "You are Holy and Your Name is Holy". Through Your deeds, we recognize Your Holiness.

Listen to how the Torah describes the birth of Moshe Rabbeinu. "A man from the house of Levi married a daughter of Levi. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son" (Shemos 2:1-2). No names are mentioned. Later, after Moshe achieved greatness, the Torah recounts his birth. "And Amram married his aunt Yocheved and she bore Ahron and Moshe" (Shemos 6:20). Now they had earned names for themselves.

Kinderlach . . .

How many good deeds did you do today? Ten? Twenty? One hundred? These good deeds earn you something very special. A good name. Avraham Avinu, Yitzchak Avinu, Yaakov Avinu, Yosef HaTzaddik, Moshe Rabbeinu, Aharon HaKohen, Dovid HaMelech, Shlomo HaMelech, Rebbe Akiva, Rebbe Yehuda HaNassi, Rebbe Yochanan, and others were all tzaddikim. Then earned great names for themselves with their outstanding deeds. Kinderlach, put your name on the list. Make a name for yourself.

*** Correction to Parshas Mishpatim ***

It was written, "We are permitted to disagree with our parents. However it must be done in a most respectful way." We are not permitted to openly disagree. In halachic matters, we may point out the source of the correct opinion.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2002 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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