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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim

Respect the Aged

"Rise in the presence of an old person and honor the presence of a sage; fear your G-d, I am Hashem," (Vayikra 19:32). The Chasam Sofer zt"l explains in his commentary on the Torah that we must respect an old person, even if he is not a sage. One who has lived a long life automatically acquires much knowledge from his life's experiences. Honor is also due to a talmid chochom, even if he is young, due to the Torah knowledge that he has acquired. Earlier in this week's parsha, we are commanded to respect our parents. "Every man should revere his mother and his father, and guard the Shabbos; I am Hashem." (Vayikra 19:2). Standing up is one of the ways to honor and show respect for a person. The Shulchan Aruch in Yorah Deah 240 and 242 lists other ways to honor parents, the learned, and the elderly. Do not stand or sit in their place, do not openly contradict their words, and do not call them by name.

Children . . .

Do you know more now than you knew five years ago? I am sure you do. Five years from now will you know more than you know today? Surely. What about ten, twenty, or even fifty years from now? Just imagine how much you will know. That is how much an elderly person knows. He is certainly worthy of our respect. What about our parents? Who does more for us than Imma and Abba? Do you know children; there are people who stand up when their father or mother walks into the room. There are those who rise when an old person walks into shul. There are little boys who give up their seat on the bus for an older person. Let us all strive to join those people in giving the proper respect to those who merit it.

Clean Up Your Judgment

"That will be thirty shekels, young man."
"When will my suit be ready sir?"
"About five o'clock."
"Where can I find it?"
"Hanging there on the coat rack in the hallway."
The dry cleaning service is a big convenience for the Yeshiva students.
The cleaners come to the Yeshiva to collect the soiled clothes, and return them the same day, fresh and clean. The prices are reasonable. Sometimes it's a bit difficult to find your suit among all the others, but if you persevere, you will succeed. The young man intended to go look for his suit at five o'clock that day. He even told his chavrusa (study partner) to remind him. They both became so engrossed in their Torah study, that they forgot all about the suit. As he was riding home from the Yeshiva, the young man suddenly remembered the suit. For a fleeting moment, he worried. Oy vey. There are so many people passing through the Yeshiva. The doors are not locked. Anyone can come in and take anything they want. I hope my suit will be okay there overnight. He reassured himself, thinking that there was really nothing to worry about and continued on his way home. The next morning, the first thing he did upon arriving in Yeshiva was to look for his suit.
"Let's see what's hanging on the coat rack. There are many coat racks in this Yeshiva. I cannot seem to find my suit. Let's look again more thoroughly. Hmmm. . . still no sign of it."
"Excuse me sir, do you remember the suit I dropped off yesterday?"
"I surely do, young man."
"Was it cleaned and brought back?"
"Just a minute, I'll call the cleaners on my cellular phone and check it out. Yes it was brought back last night at five o'clock. Are you sure you checked all of the coat racks?"
"I guess I'll check again"
With that, the young man looked over the coat racks again. He was now getting very upset. "Someone took my suit," he thought. "It's gone, I'll never find it. Now I have to buy a new suit. What did I do to deserve this?" Frustrated and upset he went to his morning chavrusa to apologize for being late.
"I hope you weren't looking for your suit," his chavrusa said. "After we finished learning, I remembered that you didn't pick it up, so I went to get it. I put it in my dorm room for safekeeping overnight."
"Thank you so much for thinking about me. You've taught me a real lesson."

Children . . .

By judging others favorably you get a mitzvah. As it is written (Vayikra 19:15) "Judge your fellow Jew righteously." Things are not always as they seem. Take the time to examine your judgement before you jump to conclusions. Perhaps there is a good explanation for this seemingly bad situation. Our friend thought there was some dirty business going on at the dry cleaners. Things turned out to be clean as a whistle.

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Simcha Groffman


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