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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Miketz

My Reward?

Let us all think back to last week's parsha, when Yosef HaTzaddik had a very difficult test. The wife of Potiphar wanted to marry him. We all know that it was not easy for Yosef, yet he passed the test. What reward did Hashem give him for surviving such a difficult ordeal? He was thrown into prison. Not for one day, nor one week, nor a month, nor even a year. How long was he in prison? Twelve years. Someone without trust in Hashem would have said to himself, "Is this the reward that I get for doing a mitzvah? Where is Hashem now, while I am sitting in this prison? I did what He wanted me to do, why doesn't He make it good for me?" Yosef Hatsaddik did not question Hashem. He maintained his trust in Him. We know this because the Torah tells us (Bereshis 39:21) that the warden of the prison saw that Hashem was with Yosef. Hashem could not have been with Yosef if he had not continued to faithfully learn Torah and do mitzvos even while in prison.

Children . . .

Trusting in Hashem means that we know that everything that happens is from Hashem. If things seem unfair at times, we know that Hashem is testing us. If we clean and straighten our room beautifully, and then along comes our little sister and turns everything topsy turvy, we should not get upset. Hashem is testing us. If Imma does not have our food ready when we want it, there is no reason to get worry. Hashem is testing us. If our brother will not share his toy with us, we know that it's a test from Hashem. Why should we get annoyed? Yosef HaTzaddik teaches us how to pass Hashem's tests.

Don't Get Confused

The Chofetz Chaim zt"l has a parable to show how easy it is to be fooled into forgetting that Hashem is in control of the world. There was once a man who came to a train station for the first time in his life. He saw a man whose job it was to blow a whistle before the train left. He blew his whistle three times. The first time the whistle sounded, people began to hurry to board the train. The second time the whistle blew, people knew that the train was about to leave so they rushed very quickly. The last time was right before the train pulled away. The train left after that third time, waiting for no one, not even important people. The man who was watching all of this came to the conclusion that the whistle blower was in control of the whole train station. He surely was the one who decided when the trains were leaving, because they pulled away after his last whistle. The man treated the whistle blower with much respect and began to ask him all sorts of important questions about the operation and running of the train station. The whistle blower was very surprised. No one had ever held him in such high esteem or asked him such questions before. He told the man that he really should be asking these questions to the manager of the train station. The man was dumfounded. "I thought you were the manager," he said. The whistle blower replied, "I am not the manager. I am just a lowly employee who takes orders from above. The manager never comes down here to the platform. He gives orders from his office and we carry out his commands down here."

Children . . .

Hashem is like the manager of the train station and the people and events in this world are like His employees. When something happens to us, we can easily be fooled into forgetting that Hashem made it happen. Let us not forget that He is the One, sitting above giving orders to all of His employees down below. What happens to us down here is straight from Him.

The One Behind It All

This is one of the messages of Chanukah. Rav Chaim Friedlander z"l speaks about the Greeks and their way of life. They accomplished amazing things in the area of science and technology. They were very intelligent and adept at controlling the environment. They believed that knowledge went only as far as human intelligence. What exists is what I can see, feel, and understand. But there is nothing beyond that. There is nothing Divine or spiritual in the world. The Greeks were not interested in killing the Jews. They wanted to reduce the Torah to a secular study, like any other subject in the university. If the Greeks were alive today, they would be so caught up in their cellular phones, compu-ters, fax machines, and fancy cars that they would forget all about Hashem. Why do I need Hashem? I can speak to anyone at anytime on my cellular phone. I can go anywhere in my car. I can find out anything on the internet. I can get along very well without Hashem.

Children . . .

Do you remember who makes the car run? Who makes the pelephone and the computer work? Hashem. Let us not forget that, Children. Let us not be like the man at the train station who thought that the workers were running the place. Hashem is running the world just as He did in the days of the Chanukah miracles. As we say in the blessing over the Chanukah lights, "who did miracles for our fathers in those days, and in our time."

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