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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Bereshis

Who Told You To Come In Here?

"Is this the address?"

"I think so."

"Come on. Let's open the gate and go inside."

"Not so fast. Are you sure you want to go into someone's private property without permission?"

"Why not? This man is our boss! He owes us our wages! Let's go."

The two workers enter the man's yard. His horse is grazing contentedly on the grass. It sees the men, rears its feet, and begins neighing wildly. It kicks one of the workers and injures him. The worker suffers permanent disability. After he is released from the hospital, he takes his boss to Beis Din, charging him with the damages. The boss claims that the worker was trespassing, and that he is therefore not obligated to pay any damage.

The question is:

Who is right?

The answer is:

The Gemora (Bava Kamma 13b) clearly states that a trespasser who enters someone's private property without permission cannot collect any compensation for damages incurred by the owner's property. The Rema (Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 389:10) makes an exception. Workers who enter to collect their wages can collect damages. Why? The S'ma explains in the name of the Rosh that in those days, workers would regularly go to the home of the boss to collect wages. Therefore, this was considered as if they entered with permission, and they were not trespassing.

The Truth Stands

"Oy vey! They fell down again!"

"What fell down, Yoel?"

"These toys in the shape of letters, Imma. Those three letters stand up nicely, but these three just can't stay straight."

"I see, Yoel. The aleph, mem, and tof stand up straight because they have two legs. That provides a solid foundation. Which letters keep falling down?"

"The shin, kuf, and reish."

"They have only one leg, therefore they cannot stand. Yoel, I am going to call the other children in to see this. Kinderlach! Come and see Yoel's toy letters."

The family gathers around Yoel and Imma.

"What is so special about them, Imma?"

"Kinderlach, these six letters hint to a very deep concept. The Yalkut Shemoni on parashas Bereshis explains that the three letters that stand up form the word 'emmes' (truth). Emmes has a kiyum (permanence). The truth endures stand forever. On the other hand, the three one-legged letters that fall over form the word 'shekker' (falsehood). Shekker has no kiyum."

"Can you give an example, Imma?"

"Yes, Avi, I will explain with a parable. We bought a new washing machine last week. The manufacturer sent a book of instructions for use and maintenance of the machine. We must use the right type of electricity, and the right water temperature. If we put the detergent and the bleach in the wrong holes, the clothes will be ruined. If the water pressure is too high, the pipes inside the machine will burst. If we load it up with too many clothes, they will not get clean. This machine must be used properly to clean the clothes and last a long time. That is the parable. Parashas Bereshis describes the creation of the world. The Torah is Hashem's 'blueprint' for the world, which means that the world was created according to the Torah's specifications. In order to function properly, the world must observe the mitzvos, the rules, and regulations of the Torah. To put it simplistically, they are the 'manufacturer's instructions'. If not followed, the world will be ruined, just like the washing machine."

"That is fascinating, Imma. How is it connected to Yoel's letters?"

"Because the Torah is emmes. It is 100% pure truth. It is the only truth. Therefore, the only thing that has a kiyum is the emmes of the Torah. Only it can sustain the world. Only it is permanent. All other pursuits will ultimately reach their limit and fail. Why? They have at least some shekker is mixed in. The shekker has no kiyum. Only the Torah is eternal."

"You are right, Imma. That is a deep concept. Who would have thought that a few toy letters contain such a powerful message?"

"Inspiration is everywhere, kinderlach. We just need to look for it."

Kinderlach . . .

We are now beginning our yearly study of the Torah. It is full of 613 mitzvos. We now have an additional motivation to learn Torah and keep the mitzvos. Because the world stands on it. As the Mishna states, "On three things the world stands - on the Torah..." (Pirkei Avos 1:2). Every word of the Torah is emmes. This sustains the world. As the Mishna states, "On three things the world endures - on the truth..." (Pirkei Avos 1:18). Kinderlach, your Torah and mitzvos are very important. They sustain the world. Do not take them lightly. Perform them with all your heart, and keep the world going.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2013 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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