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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Beshallach

This week's Kinder Torah
is dedicated in loving memory of
Devora Bas Aharon o"h
Mrs. Doris Weiner
A Woman of Valor

We Love Shabbos ! ! !

"What time is it Imma?"

"Almost three o'clock Shoshie."

"Wonderful! It's almost time! I'm so excited!"

"What are you excited about, Shoshie? Shabbos is over an hour away."

"But Savta should be coming any minute, Imma. I love her so much! I can't wait for her to arrive!"

"Why don't you go out to meet her, Shoshie?"

"Thank you for the great idea, Imma."

Little Shoshie grabs her coat and runs out the door of the house. She turns the corner next to her house and sees her Savta walking down the path. She jumps with delight and runs to meet her.

"Savta! Savta!"

"Shoshie! What a pleasure to see you!"

Shoshie runs up and give Savta a big fat hug.

"Savta, I love you so much. I love when you come to visit. How long will you be staying?"

"I will be staying for Shabbos, Shoshana, and a little while afterwards. I will go back at night b'ezras Hashem."

"Savta, every minute with you is precious! I want to be with you the whole Shabbos and then walk you to the bus stop tomorrow night when you leave."

"I feel the same way about you, Shoshie. I cherish every minute that we spend together."

Shoshie and her Savta spend the entire Shabbos together. They eat Imma's delicious food, sing zemiros, share Divrei Torah, and talk until late in the night. They get up the next morning and go to the Beis HaKinesses together. After the day meal they go for a nice long walk. The Shabbos is truly an oneg (pleasure) for both of them.

Alas, the day ends and Shoshie's Abba makes havdalah. The family sits down to eat a nice Melave Malka, and then it is time for Savta to go.

"Shoshie, I am going to miss you."

"Savta, please let me walk you to the bus stop. I want to spend time with you until the last minute!"

"Only if Abba and Imma approve, Shosh."

"You may go with Savta, Shoshie. Just be careful."

Shoshie walks with her beloved Savta up the street to the bus stop. They wait for the bus to come. It pulls up to the stop, and Shoshie gives her Savta one last hug."

"Shalom, Savta! I miss you already."

"Shalom, Shoshie dear. I will be back again soon, b'ezras Hashem."

And so Savta leaves. Shoshie watches longingly as the bus pulls away, with Savta waving out the window.

This story is a parable to how we should feel about the Shabbos. The source is a verse in this week's parasha. "Tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbos to Hashem" (Shemos 16:23). The Baal HaTurim points out that the words "shabboson shabbas" precede the word "kodesh." This indicates that we should add from the chol (non- holy time before Shabbos) onto the kodesh (holy day of Shabbos). We should accept and welcome the Shabbos before the Heavenly Kedusha actually arrives. Similarly in parashas Vayakhel (Shemos 35:2) the verse states, "kodesh shabbas shabboson." We should add onto the end of Shabbos by extending the kedusha into the week.

In the parable Shoshie's Savta represents the Shabbos Queen. We should be as excited about the coming of Shabbos as Shoshie is about Savta's arrival. We should go out to meet the Shabbos Queen by accepting the kedusha of Shabbos early, before the sunset. Similarly, we should extend the departure of Shabbos by extending our third meal and our Maariv prayers. This is the proper way to cherish and honor Shabbos.

Kinderlach . . .

The Shabbos Queen is our honored guest. Keep her with us as long as possible! Show Hashem and yourselves how much you love and cherish her. Run out to meet her by accepting her kedusha early. Extend her visit at the end of the holy day. This idea is expressed in the zemira (song) "Kol Mekadesh Shvii." "Those who seek Hashem, the descendants of Avraham His beloved one; delay the departure of Shabbos and hasten its arrival. They are happy to guard (its holiness) and to make its eiruv. This is the day that Hashem made! Let us rejoice and be happy!"

Mitzvos and Middos

The Meshech Chochma in his commentary on the splitting of the Yam Suf shares a deep insight with us. If one contemplates upon the ways of the Torah, he sees a fascinating phenomenon. An individual who violates the mitzvos that forbid certain actions and deeds (such as worshipping idols) receives a punishment administered by Beis Din (Rabbinical Court). On the other hand, his transgression of the mitzvos that obligate him to have good middos (character traits), such as proper speech and making peace with his fellow Jews, require no Rabbinical punishment. The rules governing the punishment of the community are opposite from those of the individual. If there is proper speech and peace among the members of the community, they can be committing the worst sins and they will not be punished on a communal level. However, if there is bickering and fighting in the community, they may be excellent in their observance of other mitzvos, however the Shechina (Divine Presence) will depart from them and they will receive communal punishment. Therefore, we see that Hashem forgave the Chet HaEgel (Sin of the Golden Calf). However, He did not forgive the Chet HaMeraglim (Sin of the Spies) which entailed loshon hora, and the entire generation had to die in the desert.

"The water was a wall for them" (Shemos 14:22). The angel asked Hashem, "Why do you perform miracles for these people? They worshipped idols in Mitzrayim." Hashem responded that they excelled in their middos. They did not speak loshon hora and they loved one another.

Kinderlach . . .

Now you see the key to receiving Hashem's assistance -- peace among us. Do not say anything bad about your fellow Jews. Run away from an argument, as you would flee from a fire. Hashem will help us again now, as He helped us in Mitzrayim. It is all up to us.

Parasha Questions:

What would Hashem give in the morning? At night? (Rashi 16:7)

How does the Torah describe the mun? (16:31)

How long did the Bnei Yisrael eat mun? (16:35)

Why was the place called Massa U'meriva? (17:6)

When did Yisrael have the upper hand in the war? (17:11)

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