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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Bereshis

Heavy Duty Tools

"Oy vey, my watch stopped again. I must get it fixed. Do you want to come along with me, Avi?" "Sure, Chaim."

A short time later at the watch repair shop.

"Can I help you boys?"

"Yes sir, my watch stopped. Can you fix it?"

"Let's have a look and see what we can do. First, we will open the watch. There are four very small screws in the back. This very fine screwdriver will unscrew them. Now, the watch is open. Hmmm. There seems to be some dust here. I have a very small brush that sweeps away the dust nicely. Also, the battery is dead. Let's switch it for a fresh battery. We use this fine tweezers to take out the old battery and put in a new one. There we go. Everything seems to be working as good as new!" "Thank you very much, sir. I could not help but notice how tiny and delicate your tools are." "Watches are very small and compact. All of the parts are miniaturized. Therefore, I need very small tools to work on the watches. If I were a carpenter, making tables and chairs, I would have much bigger tools." "That makes sense, sir." "Boys, did you ever see the tools that construction workers use? They are even bigger. Construction workers are building buildings, a much bigger job that requires much bigger tools." "Sir, last week I saw a steam shovel digging a hole in the ground to lay the foundations for a skyscraper." "Now you are talking about a really big job, young man. For that, you need huge power tools like steam shovels and jackhammers. That reminds me of an auto trip that we took a few weeks ago. We were driving through the countryside and we saw a new road under construction. The workers were digging a tunnel through a mountain. They were using a gigantic digging machine. They also used tons of dynamite to blast their way through rock. That was a big job." "Wow. That sounds fascinating. I have heard of even bigger construction projects, sir. Huge bridges that span great lengths, long tunnels under great bodies of water, huge dams that create man-made lakes. In some cases, they even move mountains. Can you imagine the size and power of the tools that they use for these construction projects?" "Boys, those tools may seem big to you, but they are really just like tiny watchmaker's tools." "What do you mean sir?" "You are speaking about building one bridge or one tunnel, or one building. A much bigger construction project many years ago dwarfed all of these structures." "Are you speaking about the Brooklyn Bridge? The English Channel Tunnel? The Empire State Building? Boulder Dam? The Golden Gate Bridge?" "Child's play. I am speaking about the creation of the world." "You mean Parshas Bereshis. 'In the beginning, Hashem created the heaven and the earth' (Bereshis 1:1)." "That's right, boys. Can you imagine the size of that construction project? He created this entire world, with all of its great mountains and valleys, oceans and rivers, forests and deserts. Not only the earth, but also all of the plants and animals that inhabit it, from the tiniest one celled creature to the mighty elephants and whales." "That is mind boggling, sir." "There is more. Hashem also created the entire universe, the sun, moon and all of the stars. Billions and billions of stars, galaxies, planets and worlds without number." "Wow, what a tremendous construction project!" "Just take a minute to think about something else, boys. When we 'build' something, we are only taking existing materials and rearranging them. All of our cutting, melting, sawing, blasting, welding, cementing is just moving around things that already existed. Hashem did much more. He created this whole universe from nothing. Matter did not exist before He started. He created something from nothing. A feat which we have not yet managed to duplicate with all of our heavy power tools and sophisticated computers." "Please tell us sir. Which tools did Hashem use to create this universe? He must have used unbelievably big, powerful, and sophisticated tools." "He surely did young man. 'Hashem said, "Let there be light," and there was light' (Bereshis 1:3). Hashem spoke, and the world came into being. The only tool He used was speech. Words created this universe." "Incredible."

Kinderlach . . .

This is the might of the spoken word. The Chofetz Chaim zt"l wrote many books about the power of the spoken word. He explains that proper speech can create worlds. When we learn Torah, pray, speak kindly, or give encouragement to people, we build up the world. Choose your words carefully, and use your speech properly. Don't you all want to be partners in this huge construction project?

Mass Destruction

The other side of the story is true also. Words can destroy as much as they can create. The first sin in history is described in this week's parsha. We are referring to the sin of the nachash (snake). He spoke loshon hora about Hashem Himself! "For The Almighty knows that on the day that you eat of it (the fruit of the tree of knowledge) your eyes will be opened and you will be like Hashem . . . " (Bereshis 3:5). Rashi relates that the nachash explained that Hashem did not want them to eat from the tree because He hated them and did not want them to gain His ability to create worlds. This malicious sin was catastrophic. It brought death to the entire world and exile from Gan Eden. That is the terrible destructive power of words.

Kinderlach . . .

The huge construction project can turn into a disaster if we do not watch what we say. When used improperly, the gift of speech can destroy with a force unmatched by even the most powerful weapons. We all should study the books of the Chofetz Chaim and watch our speech very carefully. The weapon is armed and dangerous.

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