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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Chukas

You Have It So Good!

"Knock knock."

"There is someone at the door, dear."

"I'll get it."

The husband opens the door and a man greets him with a big smile.

"Good morning, sir! How are you feeling today?"

"Fine, thank you. How are you?"

"Wonderful! I would like to tell you about something which can improve your whole quality of life."

"Thank you. What is it?"

"A new wonder food. It contains all of the nutrients that your body needs. They are wrapped up in one delicious package. There are no ingredients that will go to waste. Your body will metabolize everything. This high-tech food is so new, that even the stores do not sell it. I want you to be one of the first ones to benefit from this wonder of modern technology."

"I appreciate your concern for me, sir; however, this type of food is not new at all. We had had something far better than it over 3300 years ago. The mun that Hashem provided for Klal Yisrael during the forty years in the Midbar contained all of the nutrients that the body needed. It was completely digested, leaving over no waste material. Moreover, it tasted like anything that you wanted!"

"That is truly amazing. How do you know this?"

"It is in this week's parasha. Unfortunately, our ancestors complained about the mun. They were worried that it would eventually blow up inside their bodies. This was a terrible sin, and they suffered a swift and severe punishment."

"Please tell me about it."

"Snakes came and attacked them. Many people died. The Chofetz Chaim zt"l, in his sefer Shmiras HaLoshon, explains the significance of the snakes. The people who complained about the mun behaved like the original snake. He perpetrated an aveyra (sin) which brought untold tsorus (misery) to the world. To this day we still suffer from it."

"What was it?"

"I will tell you. Adam Ha Rishon and Chava had everything they needed in Gan Eden. Hashem gave them all of the goodness of the world. They had no worries of livelihood, shelter, sickness, death, or tsaar of any sort. They had only one mitzvah - not to eat from the Eitz HaDaas (Tree of Knowledge). Had they kept this mitzvah, the universe would have come to perfection, and we all would have received untold good without any tsaar. The evil snake turned everything around. He spoke out against Hashem by making the good mitzvah look bad. He told Chava that the fruit of the Eitz HaDaas would give her the knowledge to create worlds, just as the Creator did. He made her feel that Hashem was cheating her by forbidding it. And so, she ate, gave Adam to eat, and brought death, destruction, and suffering to the world."

"Oy vey."

"Yes, it was terrible. So too, these troublemakers in Klal Yisrael spoke badly against Hashem, making the good look bad. They said that the perfect food that He provided for them was no good. They committed a snake-like sin; therefore they were punished with an attack of snakes."

"You have taught me an important lesson, sir. We have to realize how good we have it. The Almighty gives us everything! One who complains about life's real or imagined unpleasantness is actually speaking loshon hora against the Provider of all good. Sir, I came to your house to sell you a wonder food, and you gave me something much more wonderful. A new appreciation of life and all of its goodness."

Kinderlach . . .

Appreciation and gratitude is a yesod (foundation) of avodas Hashem. The Almighty gives us only good. We have to be grateful from morning to night for all of the good that He gives us. It sounds simple. However, there is one individual who stands in our way to foil our good intentions - the snake. The Yetzer Hora tries to make the good look bad. He succeeded in Gan Eden, making the prohibition against eating the fruit look bad. He succeeded in the midbar, making the mun look bad. Don't let him confuse you. Hashem gives you good, good, and more good. The yetzer hora will try to convince you that it is bad, and make you complain against the One Who provides you with everything good. Do not let him succeed! You have it so good! See the good in Hashem's gifts, praise, and thank Him always!

No Grudge

"Okay partner, what should we do? Buy or sell?"

"I have a hunch this stock is going up. Let's buy 1000 more shares."

They indeed buY 1000 more shares, but the partner's hunch Is wrong. The stock goes down and they lose thousands of dollars.

"I'm sorry partner. You caused me a big loss. Our partnership is finished."

* * *

The Medrash Rabba (Bamidbar 19:15) says that this is the way of the world. When two people do business and one causes the other a loss, the loser separates from the other one and does not want to see him again. Not so with Moshe Rabbeinu. The Jewish people caused him to lose his opportunity to enter Eretz Yisrael. They complained about the water, which caused Hashem to test Moshe by asking him to speak to the rock. Moshe failed the test and hit the rock. His punishment was the loss of Eretz Yisrael. Did he separate himself from the people who caused him the loss? Definitely not. The very next verse relates that Moshe sent messengers from Kadesh to Edom on behalf of the Jewish people. He still was their leader. Moshe Rabbeinu loved the Jewish people dearly. He held no grudges for the loss they caused him.

Kinderlach . . .

Moshe Rabbeinu also teaches us the value of a close relationship. We know how much he wanted to go into Eretz Yisrael. We see how he pleads with Hashem (in parashas Voeschanan) to let him enter the Land. Yet, he would not let his loss of Eretz Yisrael come between him and the Jewish people. This is how we must value our friends, family and neighbors. Sometimes they cause us to lose money or sleep or convenience. These things are small in comparison to a good relationship. Kinderlach, don't get caught up in the small things.

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