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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Pinchas

The Finger

"Are you ready to go home, Chaim?"

"Not quite, Avi. I am still finishing up the last few tefillos of Shacharis (the morning prayers)."

"You know, Chaim, I really admire you. You take your time when you pray. I never see you rushing. You always seem to say every prayer carefully with kavannah (proper concentration). I would like to reach your level of tefillah. Can you share your secret with me? How do you do it?"

"Avi, I feel that I have much room to grow and improve in my tefillah. I am always trying new methods and 'tricks' to keep my yetzer hara off balance. He tries to make me pray quickly, without any thought, or with the wrong thoughts. He is a mighty adversary, and I constantly need to come up with new plans to stay one step ahead of him. Lately, I have been very successful with a piece of advice that I saw in the Sefer Avodas HaTefilllah (p. 77). The author cites Rav Yehuda Zev Segel zt" l, who advises using your finger to point to every word."

"That sounds so simple, Chaim."

"It is, Avi. It is simply wonderful. Your finger cannot move as fast as your thoughts and your speech. If you discipline yourself to only think about and say the word that your finger is pointing to, then you will slow down your prayers considerably. You will focus your thoughts on the word that is above your finger. You will pray word by word instead of sentence by sentence. Each word will have much more meaning for you, because you are taking the time to think about it before you say it."

"It sounds like a great piece of advice, Chaim. I can't wait to put it into practice."

"It is tremendous, Avi. I have seen tsaddikim who pray with great kavannah by using their fingers to point to the words that they are praying. You should have much success with this method."


inderlach . . .

Let your finger point the way to success in kavannah in tefillah. Hashem gave you this wonderful tool to help you pray. Before you begin, open up the siddur to the proper page. Place your finger under the first word that you are about to pray. Think about that word, and then say it. Now go on to the second word. When you finish, move forward to the third word. Continue in this way through the entire tefillah, kinderlach. You will notice an amazing transformation. Your tefillah will b much more deliberate. You will say the words with proper kavannah. You will get satisfaction from the accomplishment of praying properly. In addition, you will be overjoyed with your revitalized relationship with your Creator. Let your finger point the way, kinderlach. Pray with kavannah!


"What's for breakfast, Imma?"

"Toast and eggs, Avi."

"Mmmmm. Sounds delicious, Imma. Your breakfast always gives me the energy that I need to learn well."

"Thank you Avi dear. How did you pray this morning?"

"Great, Imma. I started a little earlier than usual. I was able to say all of the korbonos."

"Fantastic! That is quite an accomplishment, Avi. It is so important to say korbonos every day. In the times of the Beis HaMikdash, the korbonos were the focus of our avodah. They brought blessing down to the entire world, and served as a kapora (atonement) for our sins. Nowadays, we no longer have a Beis HaMikdash. However, we can offer up our own version of the korbonos by learning about them and reciting the sections of tefillah which describe them."

"Imma, this week's parasha details many of the korbonos. I saw a wonderful Devar Torah in the Sefer HaChinuch which ties together the Korbon Tomid and your delicious breakfast."

"Please share it with me, Avi dear."

"There were two tomidim brought every day. One early in the morning, and one in the afternoon, shortly before sunset. The Sefer HaChinuch points out that these two times of day correspond to the times that a person eats his two main meals. He must trouble himself to prepare the food to eat. We are all servants of Hashem. Is it fitting that the servant should work harder for himself than for his master? Of course not! Therefore, at the same time that we are preparing our own meals, the Kohanim are preparing and offering the tomidim to The Almighty."

"That is beautiful, Avi. However, what is the function of the Korbon Tomid?"

"The Sefer HaChinuch gives two answers to the question. Firstly, it increases our awareness of Hashem. We ultimately want to think about Him all of the time. The tomidim help us to remember Him during mealtimes, when we are benefiting from His goodness. Secondly, offering the korbonos is a big chessed (act of kindness) to Hashem."

"How can that be? He does not need our korbonos. He is perfect without them. He does not need anything from us, or anyone else."

"True, however, Hashem wants to give to us. He wants to give us blessing in this world, and reward in the world to come. We allow Him to do this by fulfilling His will. Offering korbonos and their equivalent prayers nowadays, are an important way to serve Him and do His will. They give Him nachas ruach, as the verse states, 'A pleasant aroma to Hashem' (Bamidbar 28:8)."

"Avi, you have turned breakfast into a truly spiritual experience."

"Imma, the delicious smell and taste of your toast and eggs serve as a wonderful reminder of the 'pleasant aroma' of the Korbon Tomid."

"May we merit offering it up speedily and in our days."


Kinderlach . . .

We are now in the period of mourning for the Beis HaMikdash. We have lost the Mizbeach. The Kohanim no longer have their avodah. The Leviim no longer have their songs. We no longer offer our daily offerings, our sin offerings, or our thanksgiving offerings. We no longer go up with our korbonos on the Shalosh Regalim. Oh, what can we do to replace what we have lost? Teshuva and maasim tovim (good deeds) will help bring back the Beis HaMikdash. Kinderlach, we can each do a small act which will have a big effect. We can recite the Korbon Tomid twice each day - before breakfast and before sunset. This will remind us that we are here in this world to serve Hashem, and give Him nachas ruach. This will allow Hashem to shower His goodness upon us. This will show Him how badly we want the Beis HaMikdash. And with His help it will be rebuilt speedily and in our days.

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