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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Miketz

Chanukas HaBayis?

"Are we ready to begin Pisukei Di'Zimra yet, Abba?"

"Not quite, Avi. We have one more prayer before we begin - Kapitel Tehillim 30 - Mizmor Shir Chanukas HaBayis Li'Dovid."

"Why do we speak about the Chanukas HaBayis - Inauguration of the Beis HaMikdash - every day in our morning prayers, Abba?"

"That is a good question, Avi; however, I have an even better question. Dovid HaMelech wrote this kapitel for his son Shlomo HaMelech to recite in the Beis HaMikdash on the day that it would be inaugurated. However, the kapitel does not speak about the Beis HaMikdash at all! What is the relationship between kapitel 30, the Beis HaMikdash, and our morning prayers?"

"It is puzzling, Abba."

"The Radak explains that Dovid HaMelech is thanking Hashem for forgiving his sins. Shlomo HaMelech could never have built and inaugurated the Beis HaMikdash if his father's soul was tarnished with aveyros. This inauguration was a sign that his deeds were purified. Just as the Merciful One forgave him, so too this house built by his son would be the place of forgiveness and atonement throughout the generations.

"The Malbim has a different approach. The 'Bayis' referred to here is not the Beis Hashem, rather the physical body, which is the dwelling place of the neshama (soul) here in this world. When the body is sick, it weakens and falters. The healing process renews it until it reaches full strength. Dovid HaMelech was sick for six monthsii gemora Sanhedrin 107a. His enemies rejoiced, thinking that he was finished. However, he miraculously recovered as a result of his tefillos, and subsequently thanked Hashem for the physical and spiritual renewal.

"The Siddur Ohr HaChama relates that this kapitel contains many requests and tefillos that were answered from Shomayim (Heaven). They found favor in Hashem's eyes. The Siddur Iyun HaTefillah verifies the appropriateness of this kapitel being said at the inauguration of the Beis Hashem, whose ultimate purpose was atonement of aveyros. In this holy place, prayers would pour forth, be heard, and answered."

"I now see how appropriate this kapitel is to our prayers, Abba."

"Excellent, Avi. Let me now share with you the peirush of the Yesod ViShoresh HaAvodah. 'I cried out to You and You healed me.' If a person was sick and recovered with the help of the Almighty, he should concentrate on praising and thanking the Merciful One when he says this verse. 'Hashem, you have raised my soul from the lower world, You have preserved me from my descent to the pit.' A person should say this with enormous praise and happiness in his heart -- Hashem has placed his lot amongst the Holy People, and not with the nations of the world! 'What gain is there in my death?' One should pray that neither he nor his family, nor any member of Klal Yisrael should perish before his time. Only when they are alive, can they elevate and praise the blessed Creator, as the verse continues, 'Will the dust acknowledge You? Will it declare Your truth?' When a person prays, 'Hear Hashem and favor me; Hashem be my Helper,' he should pray for himself and all Klal Yisrael. 'Hashem my G-d, forever will I thank You' is the place to joyfully and firmly resolve to praise and thank the blessed Creator forever, by educating our children to know and appreciate Him. They will carry this gratitude down throughout the generations."

"This is an amazing tefillah Abba. You have motivated me to say it with kavannah (intention) every day."

"May Hashem answer this and all of your prayers Avi."


Kinderlach . . .

Mizmor Shir Chanukas HaBayis Li'Dovid is a tremendous prayer. Dovid HaMelech wrote it for that exalted event - the inauguration of the Beis HaMikdash. It speaks of the power of tefillah to heal the sick and to forgive the sinner. The holy Beis HaMikdash was the center of such tefillos, yeshuos (salvation) and kapporos. The Yesod ViShoresh HaAvodah entreats us to relate this prayer to our own lives. Pray to the Almighty for a personal salvation. Joyously thank Him when He rescues you! How fortunate are we to be His chosen nation! As long as we breathe, we praise Him. We and our descendants will extol His greatness forever and ever!

Provisions for the Journey

Paroh's dreams foretold seven years of plenty in Mitzraim, followed by seven years of famine. What was Yosef's advice? "Let Paroh appoint overseers on the land and work quickly during the seven plentiful years. Gather all the food during the upcoming good years and store it under Paroh's authority" (Bereshis 41:34-36). The people of Mitzraim had seven years of famine ahead of them; therefore, they had to store up provisions while they were able.

This cycle of gathering for a future time when there will be no provisions is similar, in a certain sense, to a person's stay in this world. Now are the "years of plenty". Now is the time when mitzvos are readily available. When we move on to the next world, we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labors. However, there will be no more mitzvos to gather.

The Gemora (Kesuvos 67b) relates a compelling story about Mar Ukva. He was at the very end of his life. What did he ask for? His tsedaka records. They were brought to him; he examined them and saw that he had given 7000 dinrei sianki - quite a respectable sum of money - to tsedaka. However, he was concerned. "The provisions are small, and the road is long," he said. Perhaps he did not have enough mitzvos for the long journey in Olam Habbo. He arose and gave half of his money to tsedaka. He knew that now is the time to gather mitzvos. Later will be too late.

Kinderlach . . .

We should all live to the nice ripe old age of 120. That seems like a long time. It is. However, 200 years is longer than 120. Can you imagine living 500 years? A thousand years is called millennia. Three thousand eight hundred years ago was Matan Torah. That was a very long time ago. The whole world is 5765 years old. That is all of time, as we know it. However, it is nothing compared to eternity. Olam Habbo is forever. That is a very, very, very long time. This is what Mar Ukva meant when he said, "The road is long." The mitzvos that we gather here give us unbelievable pleasure over there - forever and ever. Once we arrive there, we can no longer gather mitzvos. Our time here is short, compared to eternity. Use your time wisely. Store up as many provisions as you can for the long road ahead.

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