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Simcha Groffman

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

Parashas Shemos

Holy Ground

"Tzippy, please come in to the house now."

"Okay, Imma."

"Tzippy, thank you for being so prompt. Now it is time to do your homework. We are going to eat in about an hour, and you have to take a bath tonight, so you must begin your homework now."

"Imma, my tummy hurts, I have a headache, and I'm tired from playing jump rope. I don't feel like doing homework now."

"Tzippy, when you were jumping around outside, you didn't complain about your tummy and your head."

"I guess I wasn't thinking about them."

"It doesn't matter. Once you begin your homework, you won't be thinking about them either. Now take a drink of water and see if you feel better."

"Okay Imma. Can you help me with my homework?"

"Sure, Tzippy. What is it about?"

"We have to write a Devar Torah about Moshe Rabbeinu, from this week's parasha."

"How about the burning bush?"

"That's a great idea, Imma. How does the story go again?"

"Moshe Rabbeinu was tending sheep. He saw a bush that was burning. However, there was something very strange about that bush. It kept burning and burning and burning."

"And it never got burned up."


"Moshe Rabbeinu turned aside to get a good look at this bush, because it was a wondrous site. Then Hashem called out to him from the bush. Do you remember what He said, Tzippy?"

"Something about shoes?"

"Right again! 'Take your shoes off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground.'"

"Where was Moshe standing, Imma? In the place of the Holy Temple?"


"In the Holy City of Jerusalem?"


"In the Holy Land of Israel?"


"Then what was so holy about that place?"

"Excellent question, Tzippy. The Chofetz Chaim asks the very same question."

"That's really exciting. What's the answer?"

"Every place where you are standing is holy ground."

"How can that be?"

"Because, my dear Tzippy, you have the opportunity to make it holy."

"Wow! How, Imma?"

"Every mitzvah that Hashem gives you is an opportunity to make that moment and place in your life holy. That is the purpose of a mitzvah. To turn ordinary things into holy things. When you give charity, you make ordinary money holy. Did you ever write a nice note to someone and make them feel good?"

"Sure, Imma."

"You have taken an ordinary piece of paper and some ink, and turned it into a wonderful note which brightens a person's whole day. What a mitzvah!" "That's great Imma, but I still don't understand what the Chofetz Chaim is saying about the burning bush."

"Hashem was pointing out this fact to Moshe Rabbeinu. By telling him to take off his shoes because this ground was holy, He was telling Moshe that all ground is truly holy. We just do not see the holiness. Sometimes, a mitzvah is difficult for us to do. We are tired. We are hungry. We have a headache. We would rather just forget the whole thing. Why? Because we do not see the holiness. That mitzvah is holy ground and we do not realize it."

"I am beginning to understand, Imma. When you told me to begin my homework, that was an opportunity to do the mitzvah of listening to you, and learning Torah at the same time."

"Excellent, Tzippy! Now let me tell you something else. Sometime it is easy to do a mitzvah. Other times, that same mitzvah is difficult because you are tired or hungry. The reward for a mitzvah when it is difficult is much greater than the reward for that same mitzvah when it is easy to do."


"Sometimes we try to avoid mitzvos when they are difficult. We do not realize that we are on holy ground. Hashem had a good reason to give us this mitzvah now when it is difficult. He wanted us to get a bigger reward."

"That is a great Devar Torah Imma. Thank you so much for helping me with my homework. I'm going to write it down now."

"Fantastic, Tzippy."

"Do you know something, Imma? You were right. My tummy doesn't hurt anymore. And I don't have a headache. And I'm not tired."

"Baruch Hashem."

"I guess I just did not realize where I was."

"Where were you, Tzippy?"

"On holy ground."

Kinderlach . . .

Everywhere is holy ground. Hashem presents us with mitzvos all of the time. Did you listen to Imma without interrupting? You got a mitzvah. Did you make a blessing before you ate the apple? Mitzvah. Did you let your brother have the last piece of cake? You got a mitzvah. Did you learn Torah? You got a mitzvah. Did you smile and make someone feel good? You got a mitzvah. The world is full of mitzvos, each one a holy opportunity. Don't let them slip by.

Be Happy for Him

"Yaakov, I have great news for you."

"What is it, Avi?"

"I was just accepted into the top shiur (class) of the Yeshiva."

"Avi that is wonderful! I am truly happy for you."

"Yaakov, I always enjoy telling you good news."

"I always enjoy hearing good news, Avi. Especially news about people's successes."

"That is precisely why I enjoy telling you. What is your secret, Yaakov? How are you so happy for other people?"

"Why shouldn't I be happy, Avi? Hashem has blessed a person with success. That makes him happy. He wants to share his happiness with others. I give him pleasure by joining in his happiness. Also, Hashem shows His love by granting him success. Shouldn't I love someone who Hashem loves?"

"You have the right attitude, Yaakov. Not everyone thinks so positively. Some people are jealous."

"That is an aveyra (sin) which is listed in the Aseres HaDibros. On the other hand, being happy with another person's accomplishments is a mitzvah. Rav Shmuel Hominer, in his sefer Eved Hamelech points out the source from this week's parasha."

"Really? Where?"

"Hashem says, 'He (Aharon) is going out to meet you (Moshe) and when he sees you he will rejoice his heart' (Shemos 4:14). Rashi comments that one might have thought that Aharon would be resentful that Moshe rose to greatness. After all, he was the younger brother. He also fled Mitzraim 68 years before, leaving his older brother Aharon to shoulder the burden of leading the people. Quite the contrary! Aharon rejoiced in his heart. Not just a superficial happiness. For this mitzvah, he merited to wear the choshen (breastplate) on his heart. Rav Hominer relates that we are commanded to be happy and have a good heart for our friend's good fortune and accomplishments. Therefore Avi, I am doing a mitzvah every time that I am happy for another person."

"Yaakov, may you merit many more mitzvos."

Kinderlach . . .

Did your friend just get a good grade in his test? Be happy for him! Did the neighbor just have a baby? Rejoice together! Did your sister just get a new Shabbos dress? Enjoy her happiness! Sharing people's good fortunes makes them even happier. And it gives you a big mitzvah. Which should make you happy. And of course we know that our mitzvos make Hashem happy. So, join in and make everyone happy!

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