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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Bereshis

One Word Says it All

"Bereshis" - the first word of the Torah; the beginning. The beginning of an endeavor is always important. One can only imagine the supreme significance of the first word of Hashem's holy Torah. It is beyond our comprehension. The Vilna Gaon (as cited in the sefer "Eved HaMelech") finds a hint to six fundamental points of Avodas Hashem in the first word of the Torah. "Bereshis" is composed of six letters: "bes," "reish," "aleph," "shin," "yud," and "tuf." Each letter represents a different aspect of man's avodah in this world.

"Bes" is the first letter of the word "bitachon" - trust in Hashem. This is the first principle. The Gaon makes an astounding statement about bitachon. The main reason that the Torah was given to Klal Yisrael was for us to place our trust in Hashem, and to teach our children. The basis of everything is trust in the Almighty, for it includes all of the mitzvos.

"Reish" is the beginning of the words "ratzon HaBoray" - the will of the Creator. All of our thoughts and deeds have to be in accordance with Hashem's will. Whether they be mitzvos (commandments) or "reshus" (voluntary actions), they must all be done li'shaim shomayim (for the sake of heaven). Shlomo HaMelech taught this when he wrote, "In all your ways know Him, and He will smooth your paths" (Mishlei 3:6). Rabbeinu Yona expounds on this verse. Before you do anything, contemplate if there is any chet (sin) in the deed. When you are sure that it is the ratzon HaBoray, then success will be yours, and your paths will be straight.

"Aleph" stands for "ahava." "You shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might" (Devarim 6:5). Our love for Hashem must be so strong and overwhelming that it fills our hearts and souls every moment of every day. We, who love Hashem so much, have no questions or complaints about his challenges and tests in our lives. We have complete emunah (faith) that Hashem is emmes, His word is emmes, and all of His ways are emmes. Our striving for this will result in our Torah and mitzvos being done with love for our Creator. Our example will encourage others to serve Hashem, thereby causing Shaim Shomayim (the Heavenly Name) to be beloved.

"Shin" is the first letter of the word "shtika" - quiet. A proper servant of Hashem guards his speech. He does not say anything unless he knows clearly that his words are in accordance with ratzon Hashem. When a person guards his speech in complete purity, he will be saved from every evil occurrence. This is reflected in the Gaon's commentary to the verse, "One who guards his mouth protects his soul" (Mishlei 13:3). The mouth is the protector of the entire soul.

"Yud" is the beginning of the word "yirah" - fear. We are commanded to fear Hashem. This is a constant mitzvah, every moment of every day. It is a foundation of all proper service to the Almighty.

Lastly, "tuf" stands for Torah. "Talmud Torah is equal to all of the mitzvos" (Mishna Peah 1). Without Torah, we have nothing. With it, we have everything.

Kinderlach . . .

The first word of the Torah is a treasure house. It contains six foundations of service to Hashem - trusting Him, doing His will, loving Him, keeping quiet, fearing Him, and learning Torah. One who serves the Holy One Blessed be He with all of these foundations becomes a treasure. Hashem gets nachas ruach from Him, and values Him more than anything in the universe. Kinderlach, we begin the Torah today. This year, as we learn through the Torah, let us put all of our efforts into learning these principles, applying them, and serving Hashem with all of our kochos (strengths). May we all have a tremendous year of Avodas Hashem!

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.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2015 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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