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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Bereshis

Run Like a Deer

"Run, Shaya, run!"

"I can't... run anymore... I'm... out of breath."

"Just a little further, Shaya."

"My feet hurt."

"We're almost there."

"Where? Where are we going?"

"Look, up ahead."

The two boys looked up and saw their destination in front of them. It looked beautiful. So peaceful and perfect.

"Our destination is there."

"Why... are... we running?"

"Because we have to run to get from here to there. If we walk, we won't make it."

"In the beginning, Elokim (G-d) created the heaven and the earth" (Bereishis 1:1). The sefer "Mima'amakim" offers a deep understanding of the nature of heaven and earth. The word "shomayim" (heaven) comes from the word "shom" (there). Heaven is over there. It is a world that is not here, in our physical world, rather it is at the end, after we have completed our time in this world. It is a world of perfection, where all things are brought to their completion. "Eretz" (earth) is from the root word "ratz" (to run). This world, the earth, is running. It is always going somewhere. It is lacking something, and is striving to achieve to fill that gap. We, who are here, are always running to accomplish. We feel the lack of perfection and want to fill it. Yet, the perfection can only be achieved "shom" - there - in "shomayim," the world over there.

Kinderlach . . .

In this world we run after mitzvos. "Yehuda ben Teima says, '...and run like a deer... to do the will of your Father in Heaven'" (Pirkei Avos 5:20). "Ben Azzai says, 'Run to do an easy mitzvah'" (Pirkei Avos 4:2). "And he (Avraham) ran to greet them (his guests)" (Bereishis 18:2). When Imma asks for help, RUN to help her. How about running to school to learn Torah? You can also run to shul to daven. By running, you show Hashem how much you love His mitzvos, and can't wait to fulfill them.

Chosson and Kallah

"Mazel Tov! Mazel Tov!"

"What a beautiful chassanah (wedding)."

"Yes, it is a beautiful thing. The chosson (groom) and kallah (bride) join to become one, in a holy union based on love and deep commitment to each other. We participate in their happiness by singing, dancing, and eating together with them."

"And Elokim (G-d) blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." (Bereishis 2:3). This day is Shabbos Kodesh (The Holy Sabbath), a day when we eat, dress, speak, walk and even pray differently than the rest of the week. The Avudraham points out that each tefillah (prayer) on Shabbos is unique. At night we say "Atta kidashta"; in the morning we say "Yismach Moshe" followed by "Musaf" (additional prayer), and in the afternoon we finish with "Atta echad". The prayers correspond to a chassanah between Hashem (the chosson) and the Jewish People (the kallah). "Atta kidashta" (you sanctified) is like the kiddushin (betrothal) which the chosson gives the kallah. "Yismach Moshe" (And Moshe will be happy) is the celebration of singing and dancing. Mussaf is the korbonos (sacrifices) that are eaten at a se'udas mitzvah (festive meal). Finally, "Atta echad" (You are One) is the unity that the chosson and kallah achieve through marriage.

Kinderlach . . .

Shabbos is a day when we can achieve the impossible... unity with Hashem. By observing the mitzvos of Shabbos - resting, eating, drinking, wearing Shabbos clothes, speaking only about holy subjects, learning and praying, we can come as close to Hashem as a kallah to a chosson. That can make us as happy as a chosson and kallah on their wedding day. How wonderful! Kinderlach, make this Shabbos and every Shabbos as special as a chassanah. Put extra effort into the mitzvos of the day. You will feel closeness with Hashem and happiness beyond words.

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

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