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Simcha Groffman

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

Parshas Vayakhel

It Is Relevant

"Oy, I'm so confused."

"What's the matter, Moishie?"

"It's all a blur to me. Is it twenty posts of ten amos (cubits) or ten posts of twenty amos? Why fifty loops on each curtain? Or is it forty? Is the Menorah on the left side or the right side? Capores, paroches, it's all so confusing. Will I ever be able to figure out this Mishkan (Tabernacle), Abba?"

"Come, Moishie. Let me help you. It's really not so difficult. We even have some illustrations to help us. Let's look at this week's parsha."

"Abba, thank you so much for your help. I can always count on you. Before we begin, I have another question."

"Go ahead, Moishie."

"I know that we get schar (reward) for every letter of Torah that we learn. Every year we review these parshios about the Mishkan. The Torah goes into great length and detail to describe all of the vessels. Altogether 4 parshios are devoted to this subject. We have no Mishkan today. Why is it necessary to learn these subjects at length? How are they relevant?"

"Moishie, that is an excellent question. Rav Chaim Volozhin zt"l, the great Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin, wrote a very deep sefer entitled 'Nefesh HaChaim'. He answers your question."


"The Mishkan is a structure that was fit to receive the Shechina (Divine Presence). The boards, curtains, skins, altars, ark menorah, table, etc, were all part of that holy structure. However, this was only the 'external' Mishkan. Hashem desires something much more than a Tabernacle. It is only a hint to the true holiness; the true vessel that it fitting to receive the Shechina."

"What is that, Abba?"

"The human being. We have the power, by purifying our thoughts and deeds, to become holy. When we do so, the Shechina will rest upon us. As the verse states, 'Make a Sanctuary for me, so that I may dwell amongst you' (Shemos 25:8). Our sages point out that the verse does not say that Hashem will dwell in the Sanctuary. Rather He will dwell among the people. Hashem wants to rest His Divine Presence in every Jew."

"That is awesome, Abba. Hashem wants to live inside of me."

"That is correct Moishie. He designed your body and soul. When treated properly, they are perfectly suited to house the Shechina. You have only one job in this world. Do not turn Hashem away."

"Chas veshalom (G-d forbid). I would never do anything like that, Abba."

"Good Moishie. Always remember who you truly are. You are capable of accomplishing the greatest thing in this world: bringing the Shechina down to earth. Realize this, and live with it. You will become a different person. It will become impossible to sin. How could someone who is capable of housing the Shechina commit a sin?"


Kinderlach . . .

Who can imagine the glory of the Shechina resting upon the Mishkan? The physical and spiritual beauty was beyond words. We yearn for it every day. We mention it in all of our prayers. Yet, we can have it right now. You are the true Mishkan. A Jew who keeps the Torah and Mitzvos houses the Shechina. That is the most beautiful sight on this earth. Mistakes? Impossible.

Give and Take

"Welcome, welcome. We hope you enjoy your stay here. How was your trip?"

"A bit rough, especially at the end."

"Boruch Hashem, it is over."

"May I trouble you for a hot drink?"

"I'm sorry but we do not serve hot drinks here."

"Really? Well, I'll just go and get one myself. One minute, where is my wallet? Did you see my wallet? It seems to be missing."

"No, I did not see it."

"It's not important. I can use my credit card. Oy vey, I seem to have lost my credit cards also. This was really a rough trip."

"I wish I could help you."

"Can you order a hot drink for me from the nearest restaurant, and I will reimburse you?"

"I'm afraid that I can't do that."

The man begins to get upset.

"What is going on here? All I want is a simple hot drink. Now why can't you give it to me?"


"Do you realize who I am? I am a multi millionaire. I own real estate in every major city in the world. I have a fleet of cars and a private plane. If you don't give me a hot drink, I am going to phone my attorney and sue you. I can buy and sell this place ten times over."

The man behind the counter looks through his records.

"Here is your file. I see your account balance."

"Good. Now you can see how wealthy I am. Now please, order a hot drink for me."

"Your account is a modest sum, but it certainly is not millions."

"What?!? Let me see that record. There must be some mistake. What is going on here?"

The man looks the newcomer in the eye and began to explain.

"Sir, you have arrived here because your life on earth has ended. You fulfilled your mission down there and therefore you were summoned here. You do not bring your earthly possessions with you here. All of your cars, planes and millions are gone."

The man thinks for a long time, letting the impact of the words sink in.

"I see. This is it. Olam Habbo."


"But you said that I have a bank balance here. I thought that I could not bring any money with me."

"With one exception. Your bank balance is the money that you gave to tsedaka (charity) when you were alive. That is the only money that you bring with you."

"I should have given more. Now it is too late."

"Take from yourselves trumah to Hashem" (Shemos 35:5). The verse uses the word "take" instead of "give" when referring to trumah (charitable gifts). Why? Because this is the only money that you can take with you . . . into eternity.

Kinderlach . . .

Tsedaka is big business. You can make tremendous profits. The more you give, the more you take. Money comes and goes, but tsedaka stays with you forever. Give, give, give, and take, take, take.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2003 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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