"Avi, hurry. You don't want to be late for your morning learning seder."
"BiSeder, Imma. Everything in my schoolbag is mesudar. I'm ready to leave."
"Hatzlacha Rabba (you should have much success) Avi."
"Thank you Imma."
Avi hurries to school - to his first class of the morning seder - Parashas Ha'shavuah.
"Good morning talmidim (students). Let me begin today's class with a question. Who can give an example of the use of the word 'seder'?"
"Learning seder - a set period of time for learning Torah."
"Very good Shimon."
"Bein HaSedorim - the time between two learning sessions."
"Good answer, Mutty."
"Mesader Kedushin - the Rav who supervises the marriage of a chosson (groom) and kallah (bride)."
"The Pesach Seder."
"Wonderful answer, Moishe."
"We say 'biseder' when everything is in order."
"The siddur - the book with our prayers all arranged in an orderly fashion."
"Wow. That is a fantastic answer, Avi. In fact, they are all fantastic answers. There are so many uses of the word 'seder'. We see that it is a very important concept in Torah thought. 'Seder' means order. Things that are 'mesudar' are organized. Let me ask you another question. Where do we see an example of 'seder' in this week's parasha?"
"The encampment of the Jewish people in the desert."
"Excellent, Chaim. The Torah goes to great lengths to describe where every tribe camped, how they traveled, who carried each banner, how they took apart, transported, and re- assembled the Mishkan. Why do you suppose the Torah takes the time to bring us all of these details?"
"To teach us the importance of 'seder'."
"Exactly, Yossie. Rav Aharon Kotler zt"l relates that 'seder' - order in time and space is the foundation of the universe, and a pillar of Avodas (service to) Hashem. We see that Hashem created the universe with many, many parts, all inter-related, and perfectly suited to each other. The sun rises at its appointed time, the oceans stay within their borders, the animals have the food that they need to eat, the water evaporates, the rain falls, and the world goes on in a beautiful symphony of harmonious co- existence. The world is mesudar. Therefore, the Torah, which is the blueprint of the world, is mesudar. As the Medrash states, 'Hashem looked into the Torah and created the world,' (Bereshis Rabba1:1)."
"How is 'seder' related to Avodas Hashem?"
"We have an example relating to the upcoming chag of Shavuous. 'Yisrael camped there opposite the mountain (Shemos 19:2). Rashi explains, 'Like one man with one heart.' They were all unified, with a singular purpose at heart. Unity means that each person fulfilled his purpose. He stayed within his 'seder' and the boundary defined for him. Therefore, there were no conflicts, because everyone did what he was supposed to do. The shalom and shleimus (perfection) that resulted from this seder, made Klal Yisrael worthy to receive the Torah."
"That is astounding. I never realized that seder was so fundamental to Avodas Hashem."
"We see this even nowadays. Every mitzvah has its seder. Prayers must be said in a specific order, by a specific time. There are shiurim (measurements) for how much matza to eat, how much kiddush to drink, how big a tallis must be, and how much tsedaka to give."
"It goes deeper than that. Sugyas (subjects) in the gemora are very detailed and intricate. In order to properly learn and understand the Torah, one's thinking must be disciplined and organized. Internal seder is as important as external seder. In fact, the two are related. In the great Mussar Yeshiva of Kelm, they understood that a lack of external seder was a reflection of some internal confusion."
"That is very deep."
"Yes. Now that we all realize the importance of seder, we should do our best to keep ourselves organized."
Kinderlach . . .
Seder begins with thinking. When you are finished using something, stop and think, "Where does this belong?" Then put it in its place. It will stay safe, and save you time looking for it when you need it. Think about how much time it takes to get to the Beit HaKinesset and prepare yourself to pray. Then leave the house early enough to be ready to pray on time. You will notice a big improvement in your prayers. When you learn something important, write it down. Then review it until you remember it. It will be clear and organized in your mind and you will recall it when you need it. Keep your clothes, your actions, and your thoughts neat and orderly. BiSeder? BiSeder!
This coming week is Shavuous. We all want to prepare ourselves properly for receiving the Torah. The Medrash Rabba (Bamidbar 1:7) gives instructions. "Hashem spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert" (Bamidbar 1:1). Our sages explain that the Torah was given with fire, water, and in the desert. Why specifically in these three ways? Just as fire, water, and the desert are free for anyone to take, so the words of Torah are free for anyone to learn. Additionally, if a person does not make himself hefker like the desert, he will not be able to acquire the wisdom and the Torah. The "Matnos Kehuna" explains hefker to mean low and humble, to learn from everyone, and to teach all who want to learn.
Kinderlach . . .
Prepare yourselves. Shavuous is coming. If we prepare ourselves properly, we can receive the whole Torah just as we did at Har Sinai. We have to show Hashem how much we love His Torah. Then He will give it to us. Do as the Medrash says. Use these last few days as an opportunity to learn from everyone that you can. The words of Torah are free. Go on a shopping spree and take, take, take. B'ezras Hashem, He will give, give, give you kol HaTorah kulah (the entire Torah).
How many were counted in the census of each tribe? (1:21,23,25,27,29,31,33,35,37,39,41,43)
Which tribe was not counted and why? (1:49 and Rashi)
Which tribes were in Machane Efraim and on which side were they camped? (2:18-24)
Which tribe did Hashem take for Himself and why? (3:12,13)
How many were counted in the census of Gershon, Kehas, and Merari? (3:22,28,34)
Does the total match the total mentioned in verse 3:39? What is the discrepancy? (Rashi 3:39)
What was done with the extra 273 bechoros? (3:46-51)
Kinder Torah Copyright 2004 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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