Kinder Torah - Parshat Vayera
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
Bring Out the Best in You
One day, at a top-level meeting of a successful corporation.
"Please bring me the test results of the new personnel. I want to see what job each new person is suited for."
"Yes sir, Mr. President, here they are."
"Hmmm. Let's see. Mr. Cohen scored very well in the intelligence test. Let's give him a thinking job. Mr. Schwartz is very good with his hands. He should be working with tools. Mr. Goldberg is very personable. He should have a job dealing with people. Mr. Levy is creative. Give him a job in the Planning Department."
"Sir, why do we take so much time and trouble with these tests?"
"This is the secret of the success of our company. Everyone gets the job for which he is suited. In that way he can use his potential and develop it. The trick is to discover a person's latent talents and put him in a situation where he is tested. He will excel, which is good for him and good for the company."
"Brilliant, sir, just brilliant."
The President was not the first person to realize the value of testing a person. Hashem Himself tested Avraham Avinu many times. The Ramban in his commentary on Akeidas Yitzchak (Bereshis 22:1) explains one of the purposes of Hashem's tests. Hashem knows the innermost thoughts, strengths, and weaknesses of a person. Therefore, He knows whether a person will pass the test or not. Why does He test him? Hashem wants the person to use his potential to do good deeds. The test turns the potential into a deed. Hashem gives reward for good deeds. Hashem tests us so that we will perform the good deeds and get the reward.
We are working for the World's Best Boss. He knows us inside and out. He has given us a job perfectly suited for our talents. Sometimes the job is easy, sometimes it is hard. When it gets difficult, we have to remember one thing. Our abilities are greater than we can imagine. Hashem wants us to develop to our fullest potential. Therefore, He tests us. Pass the test. Move up to the next job level. Great things await you.
Care for Everyone
"The outcry of Sdom and Amorah is great. Their sin is very grave" (Bereshis 18:20). With this, Hashem informed Avraham Avinu that He was going to destroy Sdom. "Will You destroy the tsaddik along with the rasha? (Bereshis 18:23). Avraham Avinu pleaded with Him to overturn the judgment. He wanted Hashem to have mercy on the Sdomites. Could it be? Avraham Avinu stood for the opposite of Sdom. He spent his whole life engaged in chessed and sanctifying Hashem's Name, while the people of Sdom were doing nothing but cruel acts and desecrating Hashem's Name. One might think that when Avraham Avinu heard that Sdom would be destroyed, he would be happy. His biggest enemies in this world were finally getting what they deserved. However, Avraham was such a caring person, that he wanted them to do tshuva (correct their evil ways) rather than die. Therefore, he prayed that they might be saved.
"Who is that struggling with those packages? Let's see if he needs help. It's Mordechai. I don't really want to help him. He said something very embarrassing about me this morning. How can I help him after that? Wait a minute. We learned about Avraham Avinu today in class. How he prayed for the people of Sdom, even though they were so cruel and he was so kind. If he could help them, I can certainly help Mordechai." "Mordechai. Let me give you a hand." "Thank you Moshe. I have been meaning to apologize to you for what I said this morning. You are really a special person. I don't know anyone else who would help me after what I said." "I know someone, Mordechai." "Who?" "Avraham Avinu."
A Fixed Place
"Where are you going, Shimi?"
"I am going to shul to daven, Yanky."
"But aren't you going the wrong way?"
"There is another shul over here that I am going to today."
"You don't go to the same shul every time to daven?"
"Not really Yanky. Should I?"
"Avraham Avinu davened in a makom kavuah (fixed place)."
"How do you know that?"
"The Torah says, 'Avraham arose early in the morning to the place where he had stood before Hashem' (Bereshis 19:27). The Gemora explains that he prayed in the same place as before (Berachos 6b)."
"Still, what is so important about that?"
"The Gemora adds that the G-d of Avraham will help anyone who fixes place for davening. When he passes away they will say, 'What a kind and righteous person.' Also, his enemies will fall before him."
"That is especially important in these times, when our enemies threaten us from all sides."
"Exactly, Shimi. Tefillos (prayers) always help. However, when you daven in a makom kavuah they help even more."
Last week we spoke about how tefillos help prevent trouble from coming. Now we see how to make our tefillos most effective. Daven in the same place. It is even a halacha in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 90:19. Do your part to help defeat the enemies of the Jewish people. Daven in a makom kavuah.
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