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Simcha Groffman

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


Make The Effort

"Hashem is close to all who call upon Him" (Tehillim 145:18). How close is Hashem? Rav Shach zt"l relates an insight in his sefer, "A Beacon of Light" which shows just how close He really is. Moshe Rabbeinu was tending the sheep of his father-in-law, Yisro. He saw a bush burning, but the fire did not consume the bush. "I will turn aside now and look at this great sight" (Shemos 3:3). How much did he turn aside? Rebbe Yochanan says that he walked three steps. Reish Lakish says that he did not walk but he inclined his neck. "Hashem saw that he turned aside to see; and He called out to him from the bush and said, 'Moshe, Moshe.'" (Shemos 3:4). Our sages are teaching us that "turning to see" was an act of drawing closer to Hashem, which immediately made Moshe worthy of receiving prophecy. How much or little he approached was irrelevant. The mere act of turning was enough, because Hashem's Presence fills the entire universe. He is waiting to draw close to those who turn to Him.

Kinderlach . . .

Getting close to Hashem is our whole purpose in life. If we turn toward Him, He will draw close to us. Did you eat a delicious apple today? Stop for a moment. Turn aside. Think. Where did that apple come from? Who created it? Who made it so delicious, so beautiful, and so good for you? Who else but Hashem could possibly create such a wondrous thing? Look in the mirror and smile. What a beautiful face! Who could possibly create such beautiful features with all of the skin and muscles working together to create that lovely smile. Only One. Take the time to stop. Think. Turn aside toward Him. He will come close to you.

Derech Eretz

"He saw and behold the bush was burning with fire, but it was not consumed" (Bereshis 3:2). Why did Hashem choose to reveal Himself to Moshe in this manner? He could have just called to Moshe directly. Rav Shach zt"l relates that Hashem is teaching us a lesson in derech eretz (proper behavior). Moshe Rabbeinu was in the midst of working for Yisro, tending his sheep. Hashem did not wish to interrupt Moshe while he was working. First, He showed him something that might draw his attention. Only after Moshe stopped what he was doing, did Hashem call him. Think about this a second. Hashem is the Supreme Being, Creator, and Master of the universe. He wished to appoint Moshe Rabbeinu to the position of leader of Klal Yisrael, to take them out of Mitzraim. This was important job, perhaps the most significant leadership position in history. Did Hashem need to wait for anyone? Of course not! Yet, He did not want to distract Moshe from what he was doing. What a lesson in how to treat others.

Kinderlach . . .

"There's the teacher now. Didn't you want to ask her something?" "I did but she is speaking with someone." "So what? You have to be bold. Go over to her and ask your question. She does not have to answer you, but at least you can ask. Look at how much time you will save." Miri thinks about this, but decides that interrupting the teacher would show chutzpah (impudence). She walks over and waits patiently until the teacher is finished speaking. "Miri, you have such derech eretz! It is a pleasure to talk with you."

Our Part -- His Part

The Jewish people suffered terribly in Egypt. Paroh decreed that all Jewish newborn males be thrown into the river. Moshe Rabbeinu's mother attempted to save her son by setting him afloat on the river in a watertight basket. At that time, Paroh's daughter was going to bathe in the river. She saw the basket, reached out her hand, and took it (Shemos 2:5). Thus, Moshe Rabbeinu was saved. The Malbim points out the hasgacha pratis (Divine supervision) involved in Moshe's salvation. Firstly, the daughter of the king was very tznuah (modest) and did not usually go to bathe in a public place such as the river. Secondly, her servants, who usually accompanied her everywhere, did not accompany her down to the water. If they had been with her, they would have seen her violate her father's decree by saving the child. Thirdly, Paroh's daughter saw the basket, although it was hidden among the reeds. The gemora (Sotah 12b) writes that although the basket was far away from her, she reached out her hand, a miracle happened, and it stretched many cubits to the basket.

Kinderlach . . .

We cannot despair, even if a problem seems overwhelming. We should make our best attempt to solve it, although our efforts seem insufficient. Hashem will take care of the rest. Moshe Rabbeinu's mother set him afloat in a basket on the river. Was this enough to save him? Maybe not. After all, the basket could turn over and he would drown. No one might ever find him, or an animal might find him. Hashem guided the events to insure that the right person was in the right place at the right time to save him. The Chofetz Chaim zt"l says that Paroh's daughter knew her hand was not long enough to reach the basket. Still, that did not stop her from trying. She stretched it out as far as she could, and Hashem did the rest. We learn from her that we need only to do our part, and leave the rest up to Hashem.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2001 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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