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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Tetzaveh (Purim)

The Prayers of Children

We all know that Haman's evil plan was to destroy the Jewish people. With whom did he want to begin the destruction? The Medrash Rabba (Esther 9:4) writes that Haman found Mordechai in the Beis HaMedrash with 22,000 children, dressed in sackcloth learning Torah and crying out to Hashem in prayer. Haman bound them in chains and told them that the next day they would be the first to be slain followed by Mordechai. The mothers of these children wanted to send food, but the children would rather fast and weep for the salvation of the Jewish people. Their cries went straight up to heaven. Hashem heard them and arose from His seat of judgment to go sit on His seat of mercy. At that moment, Hashem tore up the evil decree against the Bnei Yisrael. That night He disturbed Achashverosh's sleep, thereby beginning the salvation. We see from this the power of tefillah (prayer). The prayers of those 22,000 children aroused Hashem's mercy for the Jewish people.

Children . . .

At times we may get lazy, and allow our tefillos (prayers) to become a dull repetition of the words. The Mishna in Pirkei Avos (2:18) says, "Do not allow your tefillah to become routine, rather you should appeal for mercy and favor before Hashem." We always have to remember children that Hashem listens to all of our tefillos. Make sure you say your tefillos slowly and with kavannah (concentration). Think about the words you are saying. Look into the siddur or close your eyes. Do not get distracted by looking around. In the zechus (merit) of your tefillos, children, Hashem should have mercy on all of Klal Yisrael.

True Beauty

Esther was "yifas toar vi'tovas mareh" (very beautiful in appearance), (Megillas Esther 2:7). The Vilna Gaon zt"l in his commentary on the Megillah explains that yifas toar means her mitzvos and tovas mareh means her middos tovos (good character traits.) He elaborates that the appearance of the person is a reflection of their heart. One who has good middos is called beautiful. A good heart is the source of all good middos, as the Mishna says in Pirkei Avos (2:9). Later the Megilla (verse 2:15) tells us that Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. The Vilna Gaon writes that she was constantly distressed, having been forced to marry Achashverosh. This anguish caused her skin to turn green. A woman with green skin is usually not very pretty. Even so, Vilna Gaon explains that Esther's inner beauty was able to overcome her physical appearance and she found favor in everyone's eyes. From here we learn what true beauty is.

Children . . . We certainly must take care of our appearance. We should not be dirty or sloppily dressed. Our clothes should be neat and clean and our hair combed. However, our clothes and our outward appearance are not the real beauty. Our good heart and good middos (character traits) are what make us genuinely beautiful. If we truly want to be beautiful children, we should not spend our time in front of the mirror perfecting our clothes and our physical appearance. We should rather put our efforts into perfecting our middos.


The Gemora (Taanis 29a) writes, "When Adar enters, increase your happiness." How do we increase our happiness? The Chovos Halevovos (in the introduction to the chapter on Free Will) says that one who is not satisfied with what he has will not be happy. How can we be satisfied with what we have when there is so much that we don't have? When Yaakov met Eisav (Bereshis 33:11) he said, "I have everything." Rashi explains that Yaakov meant that all of his needs were fulfilled. We learn from this the basic principle that Hashem gives each one of us everything that we need.

Children . . .

Imagine that someone told you to come to his house to fix his table. When you got to the house you found the hammer, nails, saw, and drill that you needed to fix the table. You even found a nice snack ready in case you became hungry in the middle of the job. You also found soap and a towel for clean up after the work. In short, everything you needed for the job was provided for you. That is what Hashem does for us children. He gives us everything we need in this life to fulfill our purpose. If we do not have it, we do not need it. The realization that we are lacking nothing, makes us very fulfilled and happy. We should all merit increasing our happiness in this month of Adar.

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Simcha Groffman

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