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Simcha Groffman

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



"Deliver us, for Your sake, our G-d, deliver us." We recite these words as we begin our hakafah (circuit) around the bimah (table for the Sefer Torah) on Sukkos. With lulav in hand, we circle the bimah once each day and seven times on Hoshana Rabba, the last day of Sukkos.

The Maharsha explains that these hakafos are a remembrance of the conquest of Yericho (Jericho). Our ancestors made one circuit each day and seven on the final day until the wall of the city fell. So too, our enemies shall fall. There is another reason for the circuit - to symbolize that our enemies circle around us, as the verse states, "The wicked walk on every side." (Tehillim 12:9). On Hoshana Rabba, we take the aravah (willow branch) in our hand and beat it on the ground, thereby destroying it. So too our enemies shall be destroyed.

"I and He (please) deliver us" (from the prayers of the day). The Tiferes Yisrael relates that "I and He" are Hashem and the Jewish People who will work together. How? When we do His will here in this world, He strengthens us from above.

Kinderlach . . .

We see another expression of Hashem's protection... the hakafos. Our enemies will fall, just as the walls of Yericho fell. Our enemies will be destroyed, just as the aravah is destroyed. There is a condition. We must fulfill His will. One example is to behave patiently, with derech eretz during the hakafos. There is no reason to push or jump in front of people. Everyone will make the circle. Take your time and enjoy the tefillos (prayers). Hashem is smiling down on you.

One Request

Imagine you could ask for anything, but only one thing. What would you ask for? Wealth? Health? Long life? A large family? There are a thousand possibilities. Is there one request that includes everything?

We say Chapter 27 of Tehillim twice each day during the months of Elul and Tishrei. The Malbim in his introduction to this chapter explains that when we strive to attach ourselves to Hashem, He attaches Himself to us with a higher level of hashgacha pratis (personalized supervision). The more we pay attention to Him, the more He pays attention to us. This protects us from all evil.

That is why King David, the author of Tehillim, made the following request. "One thing I asked of Hashem, that I shall seek: Let me dwell in the house of Hashem all the days of my life" (Tehillim 27:4). The Malbim explains that David asked to be attached to Hashem, that He should remove all the obstacles that block coming close to Him. That is the best thing that a person can ask for. That is the only purpose of our life here on this earth.

Rav Chaim Friedlander is puzzled by David's request. How could the King of Israel want to sit in the Beis HaMedrash (study hall) all day? His job was to lead the nation in peace and in war. Was he trying to shirk his responsibilities? Of course not. His request was to be close to Hashem at all times and in all places. When he was sitting on the throne, and when he was in the battlefield. To be attached to Him and always sense His presence - that is what it means to be in "the house of Hashem."

Kinderlach . . .

When are you close to Hashem? In the morning when you are praying in the Beis HaKinesset? When you are learning Torah in the Beit HaMedrash? When you are preparing for the arrival of the Shabbos Queen? When you are reciting blessings before and after eating? We surely feel Hashem's presence at these times. King David tells us that we can feel Hashem's presence at all times. When we are working, playing, or walking to school. Think about Him. Let Him into your heart. "Dwell in the house of Hashem all the days of your life."

Farewell Dear Succah

"Imma, kinderlach, please come to the Succah. I know that everyone is busy with preparations for Shemini Atzeres. However, let us take a few minutes to say a proper farewell to our beloved Succah."

The family gathers in the Succah, has some cake and drink, and enjoys its holy atmosphere one last time.

"The holiday has been wonderful."

"Yes it has. We have lived in this simple Succah, leaving behind the luxuries of life, getting close to Hashem in the shadow of His Holy Presence. It will be difficult to part from our dear Succah."

"Yes. Come; let us say the farewell prayer."

"May it be Your will, Hashem our G-d and G-d of our fathers; just as I lived and sat in this Succah, so too may I merit next year to sit in the Succah of the skin of the Leviathan."

"Kinderlach, in the days to come, Hashem will make one large Succah from the skin of a huge fish called the Leviathan, and all of Klal Yisrael will sit in it."

"Speedily and in our days, Abba."

"Come, kinderlach. Let us say this additional prayer. We had so many mitzvos this Succos. Each mitzvah has its own special angel in Heaven. We ask Hashem to allow those Heavenly angels to accompany us out of the Succah into the house. May they protect us from all sin and misfortune. May they cause Hashem's spirit to be upon us, so that we may serve Him with truth, love, and fear - so that we may learn, observe, and teach His Holy Torah. May the mitzvos of Succah and lulav bring Hashem's mercy upon us, until we return in complete teshuva. Then we will merit the best of both worlds, serving Him in perfect truth, as He wishes for us and for all of Klal Yisrael."


Kinderlach . . .

The Succah has been our home for seven days. We have eaten, slept, learned Torah, and relaxed there. Every regular activity became a mitzvah, bringing us very close to Hashem. It is so difficult to part from this Succah. However, we can take it with us. The merit of the mitzvos and the angels of the Succah can accompany us into the winter months ahead. Don't let the Succah leave you, kinderlach! Keep Hashem and his mitzvos with you in your heart all year round.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2013 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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