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Simcha Groffman

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


Special Favor

"Therefore say, 'Behold! I give him My covenant of peace.'" (Bamidbar 25:12). These were Hashem's words, informing Moshe that He was forming a covenant with Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaKohen. The Netziv zt"l, in his commentary on the Torah entitled HaEmek Davar points out two levels of fondness between Hashem and Pinchas. Firstly, Hashem formed a bris (covenant) with Pinchas. He has only done this with the most righteous people of all generations, of whom He is most fond, such as the Avos HaKedoshim (our Holy Forefathers). Secondly, Hashem informed Moshe that He was making this bris. Verbal expression of His affection shows how deep it really is. This concept is expressed in Pirkei Avos (3:18). "Israel is dear (to Hashem) for they are called (His) children. As an act of special favor, He let them know that they are called His children. As the verse states, 'You are children to Hashem your G-d' (Devarim 14:1)." We see that Hashem has a special fondness for each and every Jew.

Kinderlach . . .

Hashem loves you. Don't ever forget that. You are very special to Him. Do you see how much Abba and Imma love you? There is nothing that they would not do for you. That is how much Hashem loves you. How do we know that He loves us so much? He expresses it. He tells the world that we are His children. Remember these two things always, kinderlach. One, Hashem loves you. Two, when you love someone, do not hesitate to express it. Watch your relationship bloom with that warm glow of love between people.

Independent Spirit

"Hashem said to Moshe, 'Take to yourself Yehoshua Ben Nun, a man in whom there is spirit, and lean your hand upon him'" (Bamidbar 27:18). The HaEmek Davar explains that this was a tremendous pleasure for Moshe Rabbeinu. Yehoshua was his main talmid (student), who was beloved to him like a son. Now he was passing the crown of leadership over to him. Yehoshua is described as "a man in whom there is spirit". The HaEmek Davar relates that the spirit was the knowledge to stand alone. He was not drawn after his own person bias or the wishes of others. Rather, he stood fast on the truth. We see that the ten spies opposed him, and they rallied the people to their camp. Yet he would not be drawn after them. This was one of the qualities that earned him the position as Moshe's successor, the leader of Klal Yisrael.

Kinderlach . . .

"Hey guys, did you see this fancy new electronic gizmo that I got? Look at the fancy lights, pictures and sounds. And it fits right into the palm of my hand." "Wow, that's really neat. Can I see it? Can I play with it?" Everyone crowded around the boy with the new gadget. Everyone except . . . Yehoshua. "Hey Shuie, don't you want to see this gizmo?" "Not really. I'm not interested in those hi-tech gadgets. They are a big waste of time and distract me from learning Torah." "But Shuie, everybody has one." "Wrong, Benny. I don't have one." "Come on Shuie. Join the crowd." "Not this time, Benny. I'm going to be like my namesake, Yehoshua Ben Nun. He would not be drawn into the wrong thing and neither will I."

It Doesn't Take Much

Succos, like all of the regalim was a time when many korbonos (sacrifices) were brought to the Beis HaMikdash, as detailed in the end of the parsha. The usual mincha (meal offerings) and nisuch (wine offerings) accompanied those korbonos. However, there was an additional nisuch for Succos, the nisuch ha-mayim (water offering). Rashi (Bamidbar 29:18) explains that this mitzvah is hinted to in this week's parsha. The Mishna (Sukkah 5:1) states, "Whoever has not seen the simchas beis ha-shoeva (celebration of the water offering) has not seen happiness in his life." The Mishna and the Gemora go on to explain the elaborate celebration and the intense happiness of the participants. Golden oil lamps were lit that illuminated every courtyard in Yerushalaim. The Gedolim and talmidei chachomim of the day would dance with torches of fire in their hands. Singing, dancing and music from musical instruments too numerous to count topped off the celebration. What is the reason for such happiness for this particular mitzvah? Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l explains that the water used in nisuch ha-mayim costs practically nothing. It shows us that a person should serve Hashem with whatever means he has. A poor person cannot claim that he cannot serve Hashem due to lack of money. Just water is enough to fulfill a huge mitzvah! Not just one individual but the entire Jewish people! This teaches us that one does not need great wealth to reach spiritual heights and observe mitzvos properly. Is there any bigger reason for happiness than that?

Kinderlach . . .

What really makes us happy? Rav Moshe tells us . . . serving Hashem. Learning Torah, davening, helping others, shmiras haloshon; these give us true happiness. You have everything that you need to serve Hashem. Fancy things are not going to help you serve Him better. In fact, they might accomplish the opposite. Don't you feel happier already, knowing that you have everything that you need to be happy?

Kinder Torah Copyright 2002 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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