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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Bo

The World's Provider

"It's getting late and the train has not yet arrived. Do you think it will make it on time?"

"It has every day so far. Let's hope."

Just then, the men hear the locomotive approaching in the darkness. It is almost dawn as the train pulls up and stops. The doors of the boxcars open and the workers begin unloading food supplies. Each car contains thousands of portions, and the train of boxcars stretches endlessly to the horizon. Millions and billions of food portions are unloaded and prepared for serving.

"Boruch Hashem, everything is on schedule, just like every day."

* * *

"He gives every creature the food that it requires, for His kindness is eternal."ii From the first blessing of Bircas HaMazone Let us just take a moment to contemplate the implications of these words. Imagine all of the billions and trillions of creatures on the globe arising at the break of dawn, hungry for food. Each has its own needs. Who will feed them all? Who is capable of maintaining these massive food supply lines? Only One. "He nourishes the entire world with His goodness."1 He sets the table (so to speak) each morning providing the perfect food that each and every creature needs. What a massive, incomprehensible act of kindness. For this we thank Him each time that we eat a bread meal.

The Gemoraiii Brachos 49b discusses the origin of the four blessings of Bircas HaMazone. The first three blessings are from the Torah, as the verse states, "And you shall eat and you shall be satisfied, and you shall bless Hashem, your G-d, for the good Land that He gave you."iiii Devarim 8:10 Moshe Rabbeinu composed this first blessing in the midbar at the time that the mun fell from heaven. It praises Hashem, the Source of all blessing, G-d, King of the universe, Who nourishes the entire world with His Goodness. When a flesh and blood person is obligated to feed someone, he may give him inferior food, and not show him a nice pleasant face. Not so with the Merciful One, Who feeds the entire world "bituvo" with "ayin tovah" (lit. a good eye) - abundant quantities of the best food. He provides with "bi'chein" (with pleasantness) - a good face, "bi'chessed" (with kindness), "uvi'rachamim" (and with mercy) - with His abundant mercy, He feeds even those who do not deserve sustenance.iiv Azamer Bi'Shvachin

He gives food to all flesh - man, animals, birds, fish, insects, and other creaturesvv Rokeach, for His kindness endures forever. And through His great goodness, we have never lacked and we will never lack food forever. We never lacked food for the forty years in the midbar, when the mun fell from heaven every day. We request that we never be lacking food forever in the future.vvi Etz Yosef We have bitachon (trust) in Your Great Goodness because You are "Kel zan" - Almighty giver of food, "umifarness" - provider of other needs (clothing, shelter) "lakol" - to all. You do good for all the world's inhabitants (from the tiniest insects to the largest animals) whom You created, and prepare their food (and other needs) before they need it. It is ready early in the morning, as soon as they arise. The Medrashvvii Vayikra Rabba 14:2 relates that people sleep in their beds while the Holy One, Blessed be He blows the winds, fills the clouds, brings down the rains, grows the plants, dries them and sets the table before each and every creature. Blessed are You Hashem, Who nourishes all!

Kinderlach . . .

Hashem provides your meals every day. Every morsel of food that you eat is a gift from Him. Thank Him! He is so good, generous, and merciful. He has always fed the entire world, and will continue to do so forever. While you sleep comfortably in your bed at night, He prepares a sumptuous seudah for billions and trillions of living creatures. He also provides your clothing and shelter. Kinderlach, every time that you eat a piece of bread, you have the privilege to praise and thank the Almighty, Creator of the universe, Who sustains all life on this planet. Do it with all of your heart. This will bring more blessing to yourself, and the entire world.

Merit to be Saved 416 words (2004)

"In the merit of four things, Klal Yisrael was redeemed from Mitzraim. They did not change their names . . . They did not change their language. They spoke Loshon HaKodesh. They did not speak Loshon Hora about each other . . . They did not behave immorally" (Yalkut Shemoni 226). We can see a similarity in three of these four reasons. Hashem took "goy mikerev goy" (a nation out from within another nation) [Devarim 4:34]. In order to take out a nation, they must have some identity as a nation. If they share a common language, traditional names, and solid family structure, then they are indeed a recognizable nation. Where does Loshon Hora fit into the picture? Does that make them a nation?

The Ksav Sofer explains as follows. A person may commit many aveyros (sins) because he cannot control his desires. He loves food, and cannot resist eating non-kosher delicacies. He loves money and cannot resist stealing. These are terrible things and can bring a person down to a very low madrayga (spiritual level). Yet, there is always hope, if he does tshuva (repentance). However, if a person resents Rabbonim, and speaks Loshon Hora about them, therefore causing others to sin, he cannot be saved.

This was the situation in Mitzraim. Most of the nation was on the 49th level of tumah (impurity), committing all types of sins. Yet, a few tsaddikim among them stayed pure. Jews certainly had the opportunity to speak badly about those tsaddikim, and report them to the authorities. Yet, they did not. They retained their respect for those holy people. Therefore, Hashem had mercy upon them, and revealed Himself to them with signs and wonders. Slowly their faith in Him increased, until in the end, they accepted the Torah. This was in the merit of respecting their leaders.

Kinderlach . . .

We are so fortunate to have great Rabbonim and Talmidei Chachomim to guide Klal Yisrael. Where would we be without their constant leadership, encouragement, and support? They are so self-sacrificing for the needs of the community. They deserve our ultimate and unfailing respect. To say bad things about them is unthinkable. Even if we do not understand or are inconvenienced by some of their decisions. In the merit of this respect, our ancestors were redeemed from Mitzraim. In the merit of our not speaking Loshon Hora, may we also be redeemed from our golus (exile) bi'mhayra biyomainu (speedily in our days). Amen.

i From the first blessing of Bircas HaMazone
ii Brachos 49b

iii Devarim 8:10 iv Azamer Bi'Shvachin
v Rokeach
vi Etz Yosef
vii Vayikra Rabba 14:2

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