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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Shelach

Yotzer Ohr (2)

"Avi, in the first part of 'Yotzer Ohr' we praised Hashem's creation of the heavenly lights. Now, in the second part of the blessing, we praise His creation of the heavenly angels. They were created to speak of His greatness. And so, the blessing describes how they praise Him each and every day. Proper contemplation of this awesome symphony of heavenly praise will arouse a person's love and fear of the Almighty. This will enable him to read Kriyas Shema properly.ii Siddur Kavannas HaLev"

"I am ready Abba, but first I have a basic question. Can we ever know what the heavens are like?"

"That is a very thoughtful question, Avi. We can know what the blessing says. 'All of the ministering angels stand at the height of the universe.' Iyun Tefillah adds that the Almighty sits at the summit and the angels stand to His left and right. They perform the will of their Creator by proclaiming His praises in holiness and purity, with song and hymn."

"What do they proclaim, Abba?"

"The sovereignty of the Name of the Almighty, the King, the Great, the Mighty, the Awesome One. They then proceed to accept upon themselves the yoke of heavenly sovereignty, as we will do when we say Kriyas Shema. They do it very humbly, each one deferring to the other. This results in a sanctification of the Holy Name with nachas ruach (a pleasant spirit) in a clear sweet voice."

"What do they say, Abba?"

"'Holy, holy, holy is Hashem, Master of Legions, the whole world is filled with His glory.' Then, other types of angels, ophanim and chayos hakodesh turn to seraphim and declare, 'Blessed is the glory of Hashem from His place.' We cannot conceive of His glory, therefore, we can only describe the glory that comes from His place."

"It must be magnificent, Abba."

"I am sure that it is, Avi. We now come to the summary of this wonderful blessing. These holy angels offer sweet melodies to the blessed G-d. He alone performs mighty deeds, makes new things, is Master of wars, sows kindness, brings forth salvation, and creates cures. The Lord of wonders is too awesome for praise!

"We now return to the lights of creation that we mentioned at the very beginning of the bracha. He renews with His goodness each day the work of creation, as it says, 'Who makes great luminaries, for His kindness is everlasting' (Tehillim 136:7). "And so, we finish with a request to shine a 'new' light upon Zion. That light is actually the original light of creation, which was hidden away. The tsaddikim will enjoy it in the days of the Moshiach."iii Yaavetz

"May they come speedily in our days!"


Kinderlach . . .

The glory of Hashem's creation is beyond our comprehension. However, our sages fixed for us these words of tefillah, which describe the heavenly angels and their humble praise of the Almighty. We recite them, which inspires us to attempt to emulate those heavenly beings with our own praises and acceptance of the yoke of heavenly sovereignty. This properly prepares us for Kriyas Shema. We finish with a fervent prayer that the Almighty will shine a new light, which is actually the originally light of creation, upon us. That can only be in the time of Moshiach, may he come speedily in our days. Amen!

Time is Precious

"And you will see it, and you will remember all of Hashem's mitzvos" (Bamidbar 15:39). "In order to remember and do all of My mitzvos" (Bamidbar 15:40). These two verses inform us that the tzitzis will cause us to remember the mitzvos of Hashem. The Chofetz Chaim points out that you remember something that you have learned at one time. We must learn. If we do not learn Torah, we will have nothing to remember. Every minute of learning is precious, as the following story illustrates.

* * *


"Yes sir! Where can I take you?"

"I must go to an office in the city, drop off a piece of paper, and return to the Yeshiva. Do you have an hourly rate?"

"Yes sir. Ninety shekels per hour."

"Let's see. That is 1 shekels a minute. It's a deal. Let's see if we can make this whole trip in half an hour."

"B'ezrat Hashem. May I ask you a question?"


"Do you ever travel to other cities in a taxi?"

"The truth is that I rarely take taxis at all. Today I took a cab because I am in the midst of my learning seder in the Yeshiva. I must travel to this office now; I have no choice. However, our Torah teaches us that every minute of learning Torah is worth much more than all the money in the world. Therefore, I am willing to spend extra money on a cab to minimize the time lost from learning seder."

"I admire you, young man."

The young man settled comfortably into the front seat of the taxi, and took out his watch. The minutes ticked by. As each minute passer he thought, "There goes another shekel and a half." Within a few minutes, they arrived at the office. The young man dropped off his paper and returned to the taxi. He sat down, and within no time, they were approaching the Yeshiva. He looked at his watch.

"It's not yet half an hour. Beautiful!" He watched the clock tick away another minute. "That minute cost me a shekel and a half, he thought. Time is expensive."

"Here we are, young man."

"Thank you very much, sir. You did very well. We made it in half an hour."

He pulled out 45 shekels and paid the driver. He entered the Yeshiva, sat down in his seat, and began learning.

"That half hour cost me 45 shekels," he thought. "Sometimes I take a break from learning and it stretches out to half an hour. Would I take such a break if it cost 1 shekels a minute? Surely not. Yet the Torah learning that I miss during the break is worth much more than all the money in the world. How can I even think about wasting time during learning seder! There are diamonds in the Beis HaMedrash."

Kinderlach . . .

"If you seek it (Torah) as (if it were silver), if you will search for it as hidden treasures - then you will understand the fear of Hashem, and discover the knowledge of the Almighty" (Mishlei 2:4-5). We know that Torah learning is worth much more than money. However, Shlomo HaMelech encourages us to value it as much as money. That is already a madrayga (significant spiritual level). Then we will learn. Then our tzitzis will remind us of what we learned. Then we will do all of Hashem's mitzvos.

i Siddur Kavannas HaLev
ii Yaavetz

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