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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
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Parashas Yisro

Dror Yikra

"Abba, we just love your explanations of the Shabbos zemiros! They have added so much kedusha (holiness) to our Shabbos table. We want to hear your peirush on Dror Yikra."

"With pleasure kinderlach. The first stanza speaks about how we find complete rest on the Shabbos day. Hashem proclaims freedom for us from all of our troubles. He protects us like the pupil of the eye. We will not lose our good reputation (even though we rest on a day when all others are working). We are totally free to rest and be content on the Shabbos day."

"We feel more relaxed already, Abba."

"Very good, kinderlach. The author of Dror Yikra, Dunash ben Labrat, writes in the first person asking Hashem to show him a sign of the upcoming redemption. He poetically asks, 'Plant a branch (Klal Yisrael) in my vineyard (Eretz Yisrael); turn to the outcry of my people.' The next stanza asks for vengeance upon our enemies. 'Trample a winepress in Botzrah (a city in Edom), and do likewise in Bavel, who overpowered our nation. Smash my enemies with fury and wrath. Hear my voice on the day I call!'"

"Amen, Abba. Let us keep calling out to Hashem."

"An so the zemer continues, asking for the geula, kinderlach. 'Hashem, let myrtle, acacia, cypress, and box trees bloom on the desert-like mountain. Give the teachers and their students a peace as flowing as the river's waters. Crush my foes, O jealous G-d, with melting heart and grief. May we open our mouths wide and fill our tongues with Your joyful song. Let your soul know Torah; it will be a crown on your head. Observe the commandments of your Holy One; observe your holy Shabbos.'" "Abba, this zemer is indescribably beautiful!"

"So is the Shabbos, kinderlach. Enjoy both of them as we sing and hope for the Moshiach."

Kinderlach . . .

Shabbos is a day of serenity and enjoyment. Hashem shields us for all of our troubles on His holy day. Dunash uses the opportunity to ask for all of the blessings of the final redemption. Give us peace by crushing our enemies! Make our beautiful homeland bloom! Fill our mouths with song, and our souls with Torah! Behold, we will guard and observe Your holy Shabbos.

It Comes Back

"Shloimie, would you like to go shopping with me today?"

"I would love to, Abba. I love being with you."

"I feel the same way, Shloimie. We are going to the grocery store to buy food for Shabbos."

"I am so excited."

"Grab your coat and let's go."

They reach the store and Shloimie's father takes a shopping cart. He begins filling it up with all kinds of good things.

"Shloimie, please choose eight nice challahs."

"So many, Abba?"

"Yes, we are having a lot of guests this Shabbos. Here is the meat department. We need chicken and fish."

Shloimie's eyes open wide as his father places several chickens into the basket. Slowly they move on from aisle to aisle. The cart fills up with fruit, vegetables, wine, cake, and drinks - all to honor the Shabbos Queen.

"We're almost finished, Shloimie. We just have to pay."

Shloimie's eyes open even wider as he sees the cashier ringing up all of the items. Finally, she makes a total - a lot of money.

"Abba, I never realized that the Shabbos food is so expensive. Maybe we should cut down on the number of guests to save money?"

Shloimie's father smiled.

"Shloimieleh, to answer your question, I would like to share a Devar Torah from the Medrash Rabba (Yisro 27:7) with you. It begins with a puzzling verse from Shlomo HaMelech. 'Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it' (Koheles 11:1). Are people foolish enough to throw their food away into the sea? Of course not! Who is this verse referring to? Yisro, who gave bread to Moshe. As the verse states, 'Call him and let him eat bread' (Shemos 2:20)."

"Abba, why is Moshe Rabbeinu referred to as water?"

"Because Paroh's daughter named him Moshe, which means, 'I drew him from the water' (Shemos 2:10). Shlomo HaMelech concludes 'for after many days you will find it.' This refers to Aharon and all the elders of Israel who came to eat bread with Yisro."

"I still do not understand the message, Abba."

"The Medrash is addressing the fact that many verses in the Torah are written about Yisro, and how Moshe and Aharon greeted him (Shemos 18:1-12). This must be an important event, if so much is written about it. The episode of Yisro teaches us the reward for good deeds. Do not be afraid to do a good deed, even if it appears that you will lose money. Yisro was not afraid to feed Moshe. Who knows if he would ever see him again? No good deed goes unrewarded! In the merit of his hachnasas orchim (act of kindness of welcoming and feeding a guest), Yisro merited to become close to the Shechina (Divine Presence). As the verse states, 'Moshe...Aharon...and the elders of Israel came to eat bread with the father-in-law of Moshe before Hashem." "I see Abba. We are not wasting any money on food for our Shabbos guests."

"Not a penny, Shloimie. We will get it all back, one way or another. Hashem will not let any good deed go unrewarded."

Kinderlach . . .

"I am getting frustrated. I spend money on mitzvos. I invest a lot of time trying to help people. I am working on my middos. Do people appreciate what I am doing? Do they realize how much effort I am putting in?" Don't worry. Every effort is important. Every chessed is remembered. Every penny spent is accounted for. No good deed ever goes unrewarded. You will benefit from all of your efforts. Only Hashem knows when and where. Trust Him. He will not let you down.

Parasha Questions:

How much greater power does a good middah have than a bad middah? (Rashi 20:5)

What reward does a person receive for honoring his parents? (20:12)

Which type of theft is "lo tignov" referring to? (Rashi 20:13)

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