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Work Hard . . . Always
"Good morning class."
"Good morning Rebbe!"
"Thank you for the wonderful welcome. Class, let us begin our study of the parashas ha'shavuah with a question. Who knows two ways to get oil from olives?"
"I know one way, Rebbe. Grind them up into little pieces, filter out the sediment, and you are left with oil."
"Very good, Chaim. Does anyone know of another way?"
"Press them by hand until a little pure oil comes out. Pour off the pure oil by itself."
"Excellent, Avi. The second way yields much purer oil, because there is no sediment. Now, let me ask you another question, class. Has anyone ever pressed olives by hand to get out the oil?"
"I have, Rebbe!"
"Wonderful, Shlomo. Please tell us about it. Was it hard work?"
"Very hard work, Rebbe. I needed to use all of my koach (strength) to put enough force on the olives to squeeze out the oil."
"Shlomo, I am sure that you can appreciate the way that the olive oil for the Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash was made. It was the purest oil possible - pressed and not ground. This perfect oil kept the lamps in the Menorah burning continually. Class, there is deep symbolism burning in the lamps of the Menorah."
"Please enlighten us, Rebbe."
"Rav Yonason Eibushitz illuminates the subject with the well known fact that the Menorah symbolized Torah learning. The Torah has the power to light up our minds, our lives, and the world. However, we must learn it properly. The clear meaning and depth of the sugya (Torah subject) is not always readily understood. It requires work. One must learn and re-learn sugya over and over again. One must examine it from different angles. Praying to Hashem for Siyata Di'Shmaya (Heavenly Assistance) in learning is essential. Finally, after much effort you master the sugya."
"Wow, Rebbe. that is quite a job."
"Yes, class. Rav Eibushitz compares the exertion required to succeed in learning to that needed to press the olives. Just as the fuel for the lamps of the Menorah requires lots of koach to produce, so too the spiritual light of Torah learning requires maximum effort. There is another aspect of the Menorah light which is symbolic."
"Please tell us, Rebbe."
"The flame of the Menorah was referred to as 'Ner Tomid' - the continual light. It was always burning. Similarly, our learning must be tomid with 'hasmoda' - constancy. We must learn all of the time - morning, afternoon, and evening; Erev Shabbos, Shabbos, Yom Tov, vacation time - constantly. Why? Because the Torah is easily forgotten. It must be continually reviewed so that it will not be lost and forgotten."
"I see, Rebbe. We have to put our full effort into understanding what we are learning. Then once we know it, we must constantly review it to guard against forgetting it."
"Precisely, Chaim. If you follow this formula, you will be illuminated with the knowledge of Hashem's Holy Torah."
"May all of our lights burn brightly!"
Kinderlach . . .
The Torah is our spiritual light. We want its glow to be pure and clear. Therefore, we need absolute clarity in our learning. How do we get that clarity? By working on the sugya - examining it, analyzing it, and thinking it through from beginning to end. This is hard work - like the pressing of the olives for the oil of the Menorah. Once we have achieved clarity in the sugya, we must constantly review it in order to remember it. This is like the light of the Menorah that was constantly burning. Rav Eibushitz gives us the two keys to successful learning - work hard . . . always.
For Heaven's Sake . . .
"Purim sameach to you too! Here is your Mishloach Manos."
"Thank you. Here is yours."
"Thank you too. Have a wonderful Purim."
The children gather around the beautifully wrapped package.
"What did we get?"
"Let's open it and see."
The wrapping paper comes off, and the children's eyes pop at the sight of delicious wine, cookies, candies, popcorn, and cake.
"Wow, Abba! What a beautiful gift. Can we eat it now?"
"Yes, kinderlach. Let's say some Divrei Torah while we are eating."
"Okay, Abba. Tell us some Purim Torah."
"As you wish kinderlach. What is the holiest day of the year?"
"Right. Do you know that the Arizal says that Yom Kippur, 'Yom Ki-purim' is only a day like Purim?"
"Really, Abba. In what way?"
"We can, in a certain sense, reach a higher madrayga (spiritual level) on Purim that on Yom Kippur."
"That sounds incredible Abba. On Yom Kippur, we fast all day. We are like Heavenly Angels. How can we do better than that?"
"That is a very good question, kinderlach. The Chasam Sofer zt"l explains that if you eat and drink li'shaim shamayim (for the sake of Heaven), you can reach a higher level than fasting. It is easier to fast, than to eat for heaven's sake. Therefore, if you think about the great nes (miracle) of Purim before every treat that you eat, and you intend to eat in order to make yourself happy and fulfill the mitzvah of the day, then you are eating li'shaim shamayim."
"Can anyone do that, Abba?"
"Kinderlach, it is a very high madrayga; not easy to reach. The Sefer 'Menoras Ha'meor' explains that in our days, since we may not reach this high madrayga, we should only eat a little more than normal for the sake of the mitzvah of Purim.
However, we should derive great happiness from giving a lot of gifts to poor people."
"Why does that make us so happy, Abba?"
"Just think about it kinderlach. Who is happier? One who has enough food every day, and today has a little more? Or someone who is usually hungry and today eats a beautiful meal."
"The second person."
"Exactly. That is matonos l'evyonim (gifts to poor people). This mitzvah can bring more happiness than the festive meal of Purim"
"Abba, we want to fulfill all of the mitzvos of Purim li'shaim shamayim."
"May you all succeed kinderlach."
Kinderlach . . .
We all eat many treats on Purim. Let us try to add a little more meaning to that eating and drinking. Think before you drink. "Why am I drinking on Purim? To elevate my soul by performing the mitzvah of the day. To be happy about the great miracle that Hashem performed." Make sure to make plenty of evyonim happy on Purim, kinderlach. Their happiness is your happiness. That will make your Purim as happy as can be.
(For further explanation, look in the sefer 'Kimu V'kiblu p. 116-119)
Name three negative commandments associated with the Bigdei Kehuna. (Rashi 28:32)
What was the purpose of the tzitz? (28:38 and Rashi)
What did the Korbon Tomid consist of? (29:38-41)
Kinder Torah Copyright 2008 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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