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Simcha Groffman

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

Behar - Bechukosai

Dedicated in memory of Breina Chaya Bas Efraim o"h
Mrs. Bertha Groffman
A woman of chessed, whose good deeds will always be remembered

Are You Listening?

"Mr. Pinney, your stockbroker is on the phone."

"Yes, Harry. Con-Am Inc. is up three points? Sell 20,000 shares."

"Mr. Pinney, your real estate broker is on the phone."

"Yes Jack. The building permit just went through? Build 1000 more units."

"Mr. Pinney, your attorney is on the phone."

"Yes Bill. They want a settlement? Okay. Nothing less than $250,000."

"Mr. Pinney, your son is on the phone."

"Yes Moishe. What?????"

Mr. Pinney grabs his jacket and flies out of the office. He drops all of his business matters to attend to his son.

"If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them; then I will provide your rains in their time and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will give its fruit . . . I will turn My attention to you, I will make you fruitful and increase you" (Vayikra 26:3,4,9). Rashi explains the words, "I will turn to you" as follows. Hashem will turn aside from all of His projects (so to speak) to give reward (bountiful blessings to His Nation, when we keep His mitzvos).

"But if you will not listen to Me and will not perform all of these commandments . . . I will do the same to you. I will designate terror upon you . . . I will turn My attention against you and you will be struck down before your enemies" (Vayikra 26:14,16,17). Rashi explains the words, "I will turn My attention against you" as follows. Hashem will turn aside from all of His projects (so to speak) to give punishment to the Jewish people. In our story, Mr. Pinney dropped all of his business affairs to attend to his son. This shows his great love and concern for his son.

Kinderlach . . .

This parsha illustrates Hashem's great love for us. He drops everything that He is doing (so to speak) to attend to us. We are more important to Him than all of His other affairs. Doesn't that make you feel great? You are so important, and Hashem loves you so much. With that privilege comes a responsibility. We must listen to Him. When we listen He showers us with blessings. When we don't listen, oy va voy. The Jewish people are now suffering at the hands of our enemies. Are we listening?

Keep Your Word

"Abba, can you help me with my homework?"

"Sure Tzviki. What's the question?"

"How are we connected to Shomayim (Heaven)?"

"That's a hard question, Tzviki. We are down here in the physical world, and heaven is the spiritual world. The two do not seem to be connected."

"I don't know what to say, Abba."

"Brilliant Tzviki! I think that you have hit upon the answer."

"What did I say?"

"Exactly, Tzviki. Speech. The words that we speak are not physical. They connect us to Shomayim. Just a minute. Let me look this up. Yes, here it is in the Sefer HaChinuch."

"Which mitzvah, Abba?"

"Mitzvah number 350; the verbal monetary pledges that a person makes to the Beis HaMikdash. It is in this week's parsha. The Chinuch stresses that a person's body will return to dust. Only his words will remain. Therefore we must be extremely careful with our words."

"In what way Abba?"

"If a person pledges a certain amount of money to the Beis HaMikdash, he must not change his mind. He must take his own words very seriously and stand by them."

Kinderlach . . .

Speech is our connection to Shomayim. It is the most exalted part of us. Every word that leaves our mouths can be a priceless gem. Therefore, we should be especially careful to keep our word. The parsha is referring to a pledge to give money to the Beis HaMikdash. But it is also important to keep our word in all areas. "I will be there in five minutes." Don't let five minutes turn into twenty minutes. "I will help you with your homework." Don't get distracted and forget about helping him. "I will help you hang the laundry Imma." Don't leave your words hanging. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Keep your word.


"Yaakov, may I water our garden during the Shmitta year?"

"Yes Rachel. We live here in Eretz Yisrael and we are observing the Shmitta. Therefore, you may water it enough to keep the grass alive."

"How do I know how much water it needs to stay alive?"

"Experiment and see. If you see it drying out too much then water it."

"That may not be so easy."

"Do your best, Rachel dear, and Hashem will help."

Rachel did her best, but most of the grass withered and died. The garden, which had been lush and green, was now mostly dirt.

"Now that the Shmitta is over, what shall we do about the garden, Yaakov?"

"I phoned a gardener, and he wants a lot of money to plant new grass."

"Oy, I feel so badly that I let it all die."

"Don't feel badly, Rachel. You observed Shmitta. That is more important than the grass. Let us wait until after the winter to phone the gardener. We don't use the garden much during the winter, anyway."

That winter was a year of great blessings of rain in Eretz Yisrael. Yaakov and Rachel watched in elation as their garden began to sprout with beautiful green grass. By the end of the winter, all of the grass had grown back. "When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall observe a Shabbos rest for Hashem" (Vayikra 25:2).

"Yaakov, look at our beautiful garden."

"A gift from Hashem."

Kinderlach . . .

The Torah promises that those who observe Shmitta will never lose. The same is true about honoring Shabbos, Yom Tov, lending to poor people and giving tsedaka. Keeping the Torah is the best investment. You never lose!

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

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