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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Vizos HaBracha


"Abba, why do we say Hallel today?"

"That is a very good question, Avi. Let me begin the answer by first giving you a little of history of Hallel.ii See Gemora Pesachim 117a Moshe Rabbeinu and Klal Yisrael recited Hallel after being saved from the Mitzrim at the Yom Suf. Yehoshua, after defeating the kings of Canaan, Devora and Barak after defeating Sisera, Chizkiah after defeating Sancherev, Chananya, Mishael, and Azariah after being saved from Nebucadnezzer, and Mordechai and Esther after being saved from Haman all recited Hallel. The Neviim ordained that Hallel should be said on each festival. It is composed of six chapters of Tehillim (113 - 118) with a blessing before and after."

"That is fascinating, Abba. What is the connection between Hallel and these times of salvation and rejoicing?"

"Another pertinent question, Avi. Hallel contains five fundamentals of emunah (faith) - Yetzias Mitzrayim (the exodus from Egypt), kriyas Yom Suf (the splitting of the sea), matan Torah (the giving of the Torah), techiyas hamesim (the dead coming back to life), and the coming of Moshiach.iii See Gemora Pesachim 118a All of these events show Hashem's Hashgacha Pratis (Personal Supervision) of the world. Therefore, in the first chapter of Hallel, we praise Hashem for this.

"The nations of the world think that Hashem stays in heaven and does not involve Himself in the world below. We know that He supervises everything from the rising of the sun to its setting. He guides the Jewish people in a way that is above natural law. He can raise a downcast person from the lowest place to sit among the princes of the people. Some say that Dovid HaMelech wrote these words about himself, when he was elevated from being a simple shepherd to the King of Israel. It can also refer to the raising up of Klal Yisrael from being a nation of slaves to Hashem's chosen people.iiii Iyun HaTefillah in Siddur Otzer HaTefillos Both of these events were pure hashgacha, clearly illustrating that Klal Yisrael is not subject to the 'laws of nature' rather to Hashem's personal supervision."iiv Maggid Tsedek in Siddur Shaar HaRachamim

"I learned the peirush of the Malbim on the last three verses of chapter 113, Abba. He vividly illustrates how Hashem works."

"Please share it with me, Avi."

"'Dal' refers to a needy person. He finds himself in the 'offor' (dust), an impoverished state. Even more destitute is the 'evyon'. He is in the 'ashpos' (trash heaps). Hashem lifts both of them up out of their poverty. He does not make them into mere ordinary citizens; rather He elevates them to the highest ranks of nobility. Furthermore, they sit with the aristocracy of their own nation, who knew them when they were poor. This is a miracle that totally defies all natural events."

"Avi, may we all have our emunah strengthened by our recitation of Hallel."


Kinderlach . . .

Hallel is a prayer of great rejoicing! We say it on festival days. When you say Hallel this Succos, think about the great miracles that Klal Yisrael have experienced. Review the events in history when we said Hallel. You can also make your praise and gratitude to Hashem more personal, kinderlach. Think about how He has helped you in your lives. Perhaps you have family members who have experienced miraculous salvations from dangerous situations. Boruch Hashem! Thank you Ribono Shel Olam! "Hodu Lashem ki tov, ki l'olam chasdo!" - "Give thanks to Hashem for He is good; His kindness endures forever!"

Unconditional Love

"Sruli, I may never see you again."

The son tries to hold back his tears.

"I want to tell you one last thing."

"Yes, Abba."

"I love you with all of my heart."

Sruli's heart breaks.

"But Abba, I caused you so much aggravation. I kept getting into trouble and you had to bail me out."

"It doesn't matter. I love you."

"But Abba, how can you not have any resentment? The reason you are suffering is because of me."

"Sruli, I love you. Please come close to me, I want to bless you."

Sruli can contain himself no longer. He breaks down and cries like a baby. His father's true love pierces his heart.

* * *

"And this is the blessing that Moshe, the man of G-d blessed the Children of Israel before he died" (Devarim 33:1). Why does the Torah begin the verse with the word, "and", a word which connects two ideas? This is the beginning of the blessing. What connection does it have to the previous section, where Moshe Rabbeinu is informed that the decree has been finalized, and he will now die, without entering the Land of Israel? The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh answers this question by pointing out a very deep connection between these two events. It is the nature of a person to resent those who cause him trouble. The Children of Israel committed many a sin during the forty years that Moshe led them. Yet he kept after them, and saved them every time. Until ultimately, they put him in a situation where he sinned, and lost the opportunity to enter Eretz Yisrael. His heart longed for the Holy Land more than we can ever imagine. Therefore, we can surely understand if he harbored resentment toward the Jewish People. Yet Moshe Rabbeinu was a savlan (one who has patience with others). He harbored no resentment. The verse tells us an even more astounding aspect of Moshe Rabbeinu's character. Not only did he not resent the Children of Israel, he loved them and he blessed them. "And this is the blessing." The blessing comes along with the preceding decree. Moshe's love was not deterred one bit.

Kinderlach . . .

This is unconditional love. No matter what happens, I love you. This is the love of a parent for a child. This is the love of Hashem for the Jewish people. This is a high madrayga (spiritual level). We can appreciate it, and even try to reach for it ourselves. Love every Jew. Give to him and watch your love grow. Every improvement in this area is a mighty accomplishment. A high madrayga. Unconditional love.

i See Gemora Pesachim 117a
ii See Gemora Pesachim 118a
iii Iyun HaTefillah in Siddur Otzer HaTefillos
iv Maggid Tsedek in Siddur Shaar HaRachamim

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