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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Beshalach

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Devora Bas Aharon w Mrs. Doris Weiner
Whose Warmth and Dedication Inspired Us All From Her Children,
Grandchildren, and Great-Grandchildren

Mitzvos Are Forever

"What did you get?"

"That Mitzri gave me all of his gold jewelry."

"I got a sack of silver coins."

"We're rich! After all of these years of slave labor in Mitzraim, we are finally getting what we deserve."

"Where is our leader Moshe? Why isn't he taking spoils?"

"Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him" (Shemos 13:19). The Tosefta (Sota 4:2) relates that the entire nation was busy gathering spoils from Mitzraim. Except for Moshe. He was busy with mitzvos. He was fulfilling Yosef's directive to take his bones up out of Mitzraim. As the verse states, "The chochom leiv (wise of heart) will take good deeds" (Mishle 10:8). The Malbim zt"l explains this verse to mean that a person is constantly struggling with his yetzer hora. He wants to do mitzvos, which are good for him, yet his yetzer tries to trick him into doing aveyros (sins). A wise hearted man overcomes this desire. One only takes what he truly wants, and the chochom leiv truly wants mitzvos. Therefore, he takes them.

The Keli Yakar zt"l offers a fascinating explanation of the words of the verse, "(Moshe took the bones of Yosef) with him". What does a person take with him into the next world? Not his money. Nor his property. Only his mitzvos. That is the only thing that stays with him forever. Moshe took this mitzvah with him into eternity. Perhaps this is why Hashem presented Moshe with this particular mitzvah at that point in time. Because caring to the needs of the departed reminds us of that day when we will all be judged for our mitzvos. The Jewish people needed a reminder of what was truly valuable, at a time when they were chasing after the fleeting pleasures of this world.

Kinderlach . . .

What makes a person truly rich? Gold? Silver? Diamonds? Land? Wrong on all counts. Mitzvos are the most valuable thing that a person can own. Who is a chochom leiv (wise hearted person)? One who takes mitzvos. Where does he take them? Along with him into the next world. Mitzvos are forever.

Renew Your Loyalty

The Jewish people witnessed awesome miracles at the Red Sea. The water split like a piece of chopped wood, the sea bed dried out, and twelve tunnels formed for the twelve tribes. Each tunnel had a sapphire-like finish to the walls and marble-like floors. There was food and drink aplenty for the weary Jewish travelers. The Egyptians were foolish enough to follow the Jewish people into the sea, and they met their ultimate fate there. They were punished for all of the evil they did to our nation. Our ancestors saw them washed up out of the sea, broken, battered and near death. What was the reaction of the Jewish people to these mind-boggling miracles? The first blessing after Kriyas Shema in the evening prayers describes the Kriyas Yam Suf, then states, "Moshe and the Children of Israel willfully accepted Your rulership with great happiness and sang Shira." The Shira itself states "Hashem will rule for ever and ever." These incredible miracles inspired our nation to renew their loyalty to Hashem and His Torah.

Children . . .

Don't let an opportunity for inspiration pass by. The next time you hear someone say Bircas HaGomel (the blessing made upon being saved from danger) stop and think for a second. Hashem just saved that person from a terrible fate. That is an opportunity to thank Him and renew our loyalty to Him. When He saved us from a terrible fate at the Yam Suf we were inspired to renew our loyalty to Him, Any time He saves us from danger, we can be uplifted to a new closeness with our Creator.

Topple the Mighty Cedars

"The Children of Israel cried out to Hashem (Shemos 14:10)." The Medrash Tanchuma quotes a verse in Yishaya (41:14), "Fear not, O worm of Yaakov." Why are the Jewish people compared to a worm? A worm only has one weapon - his mouth. Yet, with this mouth he can topple the mighty cedar tree. A cedar tree is so strong that even the largest animals cannot knock it down. Along comes the little worm, and eats the bark of the tree. Around and around he eats, until a ring of bark is gone. The mighty cedar tree is dead. It is only a matter of time until it rots and falls. The nations of the world are compared to the cedar. When they overpower the Jewish people, we do tshuva (repentance) and cry out to Hashem. He hears our prayers, as the verse states, "From there you will seek Hashem, your G-d, and you will find Him" (Devarim 4:29).

The Chofetz Chaim zt"l writes that we are not saved from many of the troubles that befall us. Why? Because we do not cry out to Hashem. We do not increase our prayers to Him. If we would only beseech Him with prayers, our requests would not go unanswered.

Kinderlach . . .

We know that this is a time of danger for the Jewish people. However, we can be very optimistic. Because we have the secret weapon. It is more powerful than all of the planes, tanks, missiles, and bombs put together. We have the words of tefillah (prayer). They go straight to Hashem's ears. Put extra kavannah (concentration) into your daily prayers. Make special requests in the places that they are permitted. Say Tehillim whenever you can. You can help to save us. You are our secret weapon.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2003 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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