Kinder Torah - Parshat Lech Lecha
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
Parshat Lech Lecha
Let's Make a Person
"What are you doing Reuven?"
"I'm making a chair, Dovid."
"Where did you get the wood?"
"I found some scraps lying around. I am going to saw them and then screw them together. Do you want to help me Dovid?"
"It sure looks like fun, Reuven, but I have my own little construction project that I am working on."
"Really? What are you making?"
"Come, Dovid. Let's not joke around. What are you really making."
"I'm not joking Reuven."
"Dovid, we know that only Hashem can make a person. Unless . . . Have you mastered the deep secrets of Kabbalah and learned how to make a golem?"
"Please tell me what you are doing. I am plotzing from curiosity."
"I am teaching Torah to one of the neighborhood boys who needs some help."
"Wonderful. You are teaching him. Why did you say that you were creating him?"
"Reuven, look in this week's parsha. 'And Avram took his wife Sarai . . . and the souls they had made in Haran; and they left to go to the Land of Canaan' (Bereshis 12:5). Did they make those souls in Haran? Reish Lakish answers, 'One who teaches his friend's son Torah is considered as if he created him' (Gemora Sanhedrin 99b). I am teaching my friend's son Torah. Am I not creating him?"
"Dovid, you are right. Teaching someone Torah actually forms the soul of that person, which is his essence. You are a real craftsman. Please let me know if any other boys need help."
"With pleasure, Reuven. The Jewish people need all of the craftsmen that we can find."
This is one of the reasons that we are learning. As the Mishna states (Avos 4:6), "One who learns in order to teach will have the opportunity both to learn and to teach." Learn well and understand things clearly enough so that you can teach them. You too can be a craftsman and create wonderful people.
"Rebbe Elazar says, 'A person should always pray before he has tsar (troubles). For had Avraham Avinu not prayed between Beis El and Ai, those who hate the Jewish people would have destroyed every last trace of them'" (Gemora Sanhedrin 44b as explained by the Torah Temima). Avraham Avinu was traveling in the land of Canaan. He came to a mountain between Beis El and Ai where he built an altar and called out to Hashem in His Name. Hundreds of years later, when Yehoshua was conquering the land of Canaan, they came to Ai, which they thought would be an easy conquest. Instead, the people of Ai smote the Jewish people. We eventually overcame them. However, had Avraham Avinu not prayed, they would have been victorious.
Avraham Avinu teaches us yet another aspect of tefillah (prayer). In addition to praising Hashem and asking for what we are lacking, we should also pray that no troubles should befall us. In the very first beracha (blessing) of the Amida, we say "Melech Ozer Umoshia Umagen (Our King, Helper, Deliverer and Protector)". Our Protector, Who protects us before calamities befall us. "Blessed are You Hashem Who protected Avraham (and in his merit may You continue to protect us)".
"When Avram was 99 years old, Hashem appeared to Avram and said to him, 'I am Kel Shakkai'" (Bereshis 17:1). These are two of Hashem's names. Each name of Hashem has a different meaning. The Sforno explains that Shakkai is the name that shows Hashem's presence in nature. "I am the One Who said to My world, 'dai' (enough)". Hashem gave everything in the creation its boundaries. He created the mountains until they reached their peaks and said "dai" (enough). Hashem revealed Himself to Avraham Avinu through His presence in nature. Avraham did not have a father or a Rebbe to teach him Torah. Instead, Hashem gave him tremendous seichel (sense) to understand that this beautiful intricate world must have a Creator. By studying the creation, Avraham was able to deduce the entire Torah. We have the whole Torah set before us on a silver platter. However, we can still gain inspiration, the same way that Avraham did, by appreciation the wonders of creation.
Do you live in an area of hills and mountains? Take a minute to look at the beautiful scenery. Think about the One who created those big mountains. He did not need a tractor to move the earth. Do you see a bird flying through the air? Who created that complicated little masterwork of engineering? Even the simplest living creature is beyond our capabilities to create. The next time that you go to the beach, think about how all of that sand was placed on the beach, and all of that water into the ocean. If you consider these things carefully, you will begin to appreciate the awesomeness of the Creator.
When you say the first beracha (blessing) of the Amida, think about the words "Kel elyon" (the Supreme G-d). The Sefer Avodas HaTefillah explains that Hashem is the Cause behind everything that happens. When you say this tefillah kinderlach, think about the wonderful things in our world, and appreciate that Hashem is behind every one of them.
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