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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Pinchas

We Thank You

"Thank you so much, Rabbi Nadav. I enjoyed the Shabbos meal with you and your family tremendously."

"The pleasure is ours, Mr. Modim. You have given us the opportunity to welcome an important guest into our home."

"Rabbi Nadav, your hospitality is outstanding. You gave me excellent directions to get here. I found your home quickly and easily. I knocked and you opened the door, welcoming me with a big wholehearted smile. Everyone in your family smiled warmly and greeted me with 'shalom'. Your home is so pleasant, with the air conditioning set to the perfect temperature for comfortable dining. The house is sparkling clean and orderly. The table was perfectly set with beautiful tableware. The chair that I sat in was extremely comfortable. Your Kiddush was beautiful and the wine was exquisite. Everyone lined up so orderly to wash their hands. The sink was sparkling, and the towel fresh and dry. Everyone sat at the table respectfully waiting for you to bless 'Hamotzi'."

Rabbi and Mrs. Nadav and family are pleasantly surprised by this detailed expression of gratitude.

"The 'Hamotzi' bracha was made with great reverence, and the challah was delicious. The Rebbetzin is an outstanding baker. The first course of salads and fish were delicacies fit for a king. The next course of chicken soup was the epitome of Oneg Shabbos (the delight of Shabbos). The wine, the meat, the vegetables, and kugels were exquisite. The zemiros that your family sang brought heaven down to earth! Rabbi Nadav, Shabbos in your home is truly 'mein olam habo' (a bit of the world to come).

Rabbi and Mrs. Nadav and family are overwhelmed by the depth and detail of Mr. Modim's gratefulness. They have been thanked for their hospitality many times, but never in such a fashion. They never realized how much their home provides for a Shabbos guest.

- - { - - "We are thankful to You, that You Hashem are our G-d and the G-d of our fathers." This is the beginning of the eighteenth bracha of the Amida prayer, "Modim anachnu Loch", the blessing of thanksgiving. Proper expression of gratitude is a foundation of our relationship with the Almighty. Our Elders dedicated an entire blessing to it! Therefore, it is worthwhile to take a few moments to contemplate some of the things for which we thank Hashem. Mr. Modim took note of everything that Rabbi Nadav and family gave him, and expressed it all in detail. We can try to follow his example by being aware of what Hashem provides for us, and thanking Him in detail. Rabbeinu Bechaye in his sefer, "Chovos HaLevavos" (Duties of the Heart) "Shaar HaBechinna" (The Gate of Discernment) awakens our appreciation for the myriad of favors that Hashem constantly does for us. Value them, enjoy them, and express your gratitude for them. Feel you relationship with the Creator grow and deepen by leaps and bounds.

Kinderlach . . .

The "modim" bracha mentions thanks Hashem for our lives, our souls, His miracles, wonders, and favors. Consider the wonders of creation that keep us alive - the different parts of our bodies, and how they function together to sustain life. The digestive system, the circulatory system, the respiration system, the sensory organs, and the nervous system, all work to keep the neshama (soul) alive in the guf (body). The heart and the minds are wondrous spiritual creations that guide the person in serving Hashem. Our seichel, memory, ability to forget, agility, and voice are a few of the many masterpieces of the Almighty's handiwork. We have air, water, food, clothing, and everything we need to sustain us. More than anything else, we have the Torah, the flowing well of wisdom that nourishes our souls, guides our spiritual lives, and brings us close to the Holy One. His tovos are endless! "Modim anachnu Loch!"

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 Ha'amek 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 Ha'amek 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."

Mourning the Beis HaMikdash

During these three weeks, we mourn the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish People; first and foremost, the loss of the Beis HaMikdash. A mourner is sad because he has experienced a loss. In order for us to mourn, we have to realize what we have lost. The Gemora in Sukkah 51b says, "One who has not seen the Beis HaMikdash has never seen a majestic building." Let us try to recall the most magnificent building we have ever seen. The Beis HaMikdash was infinitely more beautiful. It was much more than an awesome structure. It was the focal point of a whole different world.

* * *

"Come children, it is almost Pesach. Hurry and pack up, we are going to Yerushalaim to the Beis HaMikdash!"

"But I will miss my friends Heshy and Yankel.""

Don't worry they will be going too, along with all of our friends, family and neighbors."

"Won't it be crowded there in Yerushalaim?"

"Wait until you get there. You will see one of Hashem's miracles. No matter how many people will come, there will always be room for everyone in Yerushalaim."

"I see the Beis HaMikdash off in the distance! Look at that, the wind is blowing very strong, and the column of smoke is not moving! What a miracle!"

"When we get closer, you will see a fire that even the heaviest rains cannot extinguish."

"Look, there's Heshy, there's Yankel, and there's Uncle Abe! What a beautiful sight to see everyone coming to Yerushalaim!"

"Here we are now in the courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash. Everyone is standing crowded together. The next part of the service requires us to lie down. What will we do? Where will we have room? Look at that, a miracle! There is plenty of room for everyone to lie down."

Kinderlach . . .

May we all merit to properly mourn the Beis HaMikdash and therefore be present to rejoice in its rebuilding.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2011 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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