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Simcha Groffman

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Parshas Yisro

For parents to give over to the children at the Shabbos table

This week's Kinder Torah is dedicated in loving memory of Devora Bas Ahron A Woman of Valor

They traveled from Refidim, came to Midbar Sinai, and camped in the desert. Yisrael encamped there opposite the mountain (Shemos 19:2). Bnei Yisrael thus prepared for receiving the Torah. The Ohr HaChaim tells us that we can learn from their preparations how to prepare ourselves for receiving Torah. First, we must put all of our koach into learning. The posuk says, "they traveled from Refidim," a place where their Torah learning was weak. We learn from this that we have to strengthen our learning. Second, we must humble ourselves. Torah can only come to one who is humble. As the posuk says, "they camped in the desert," a place of humility, where everyone treads. Thirdly, they were unified. As the posuk says, "Yisrael encamped." Rashi says, "like one man with one heart." Kinderlach, we all want to be successful in our learning. The Ohr HaChaim is telling us the secret. First, we must learn with all of our koach, even if we are sometimes tired, or may feel like doing other things. Second, we have to be humble to listen to what our Rebbeim and chavrusas have to say and learn from them. Third, we have to be part of the chevra of the cheder or the Yeshiva. We have to do our part to increase the unity there. B'ezras Hashem, kinderlach, we should all grow in Torah by following the advice of the Ohr HaChaim.

Posukim 20:8-11 tell us the mitzvah of remembering the Shabbos and sanctifying it. Posuk 58:13 in Sefer Yishaya gives us more details of proper Shabbos observance. " . . . And honor her [Shabbos] by not going in your own ways, [refrain] from seeking your own needs or discussing the forbidden. Then you will delight in Hashem . . . " The gemora in Shabbos 113a darshens the posuk as follows. "And honor her," your Shabbos clothing should be different from your weekday clothing. "By not going in your own ways," your way of walking on Shabbos should be different from during the week. "[Refrain] from seeking your own needs," tending to business affairs is prohibited on Shabbos. "Or discussing the forbidden," your speech on Shabbos should be different from the rest of the week. The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim brings down the halachos concerning Shabbos dress (262:2), walking (301:1), business affairs (306:1), and speech (307:1). The Mishna Breura (207:2:7) quotes the gemora Yerushalmi, "Shabbos and Yom Tov were only given to Klal Yisrael in order to engage in learning Torah." We see from this kinderlach, that Shabbos is a day that is completely different from the other six days of the week. On Shabbos we dress differently, walk differently, and even talk differently. Shabbos Kodesh is a holy day, set aside for engaging only in holy activities. How do we properly honor the Shabbos Queen? We prepare for Shabbos by bathing and dressing in our nicest clothes. We help Abba and Imma clean the home and cook the special Shabbos food. When Shabbos arrives, we behave our best to honor the Holy Day. We only speak Divrei Torah at the Shabbos table. Even when we are playing, we do not speak about weekday subjects. We play nicely, with nachas. We walk slowly, taking time to enjoy the day. We learn Torah with Abba. There are so many ways that we can infuse Shabbos with kedusha (holiness). We have our goal set for us . . . to make Shabbos a day of complete kedusha. B'ezras Hashem we will be successful.

The gemora in Kiddushin (30b) says, "When a person honors his father and mother HaKadosh Boruch Hu says, 'I consider it as if I lived with them and they honored Me.'" The posuk says (20:12), "Honor your father and mother in order that you should have a long life in the land that Hashem gave to you." The Seder Hadoros tells a story of how Rebbe Yehoshua Ben Elem, one of the Gedolim of his generation, dreamed that he had a place in Gan Eden next to Nanas the butcher. How could this be? From the day he was born, Rebbe Yehoshua spent all of his time learning and teaching Torah. He never walked daled amos without wearing tallis and tefillin. How did this simple butcher merit a place in Gan Eden next to him? Rebbe Yehoshua Ben Elem would not allow himself to rest until he discovered the merit of Nanas the butcher. He sent messengers to bring Nanas to him. When they finally found Nanas the butcher, they told him that Rebbe Yehoshua Ben Elem wanted to meet with him. The butcher thought they were joking and he refused to come. When Rebbe Yehoshua learned of this, he went himself to Nanas. When he saw Rebbe Yehoshua coming to meet him, Nanas fell on his face and asked the great Rav why he merited this visit? Rebbe Yehoshua replied by asking him, "What are your good deeds?" Nanas answered, "I am a butcher and my father and mother are old and sick. They cannot stand on their feet. Every day I wash them, clothe them, and feed them with my own hands." Immediately, Rebbe Yehoshua Ben Elem kissed Nanas the butcher and said to him, "My son. How fortunate you are; how good and pleasant is your lot. And how fortunate am I that I merited to be your friend in Gan Eden."

The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 33) tells us why the mitzvah of honoring ones parents is so important. Honoring our parents teaches us to be grateful to those who are good to us. Who does more good for us then our parents? Who can think of all of the good things that Abba and Imma do for us? How do we honor them? The Shulchan Aruch Yorah Deah (240:4) says to give them food and drink, clothe them and escort them. You should serve them with a beautiful facial expression. Even if you feed them the most delicious food every day, if you show them a sour face, you will be punished for it. Kinderlach, we all know how much Imma does for us every day. She helps us get dressed in the morning, gives us breakfast, and gets us out to school. When we come home, she has a delicious lunch waiting for us. Then she helps us with our homework, gives us dinner, bathes us, and gets us ready for bed. She tells us a story and tucks us in. Today let us do something special for her. How about bringing her a nice cold drink, and her favorite book to read? Say to her with a big smile on your face, "Imma, you worked so hard today, please take a break. Thank you so much for everything Imma, we love you! What else can we get you? How can we help you?" When Abba comes home at night, bring him his slippers and his favorite drink. Kinderlach, you get so many rewards for this mitzvah. As we said, you bring the shechina into the home and increase the years of your life. You give Abba and Imma lots of nachas and you learn the midda of hacoras hatov. Kol hakavod to you kinderlach. You are great!

Enjoy your Shabbos table !

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