Kinder Torah - Parshat Terumah
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
Inside and Out
"Chaim, hurry up! The van that takes you to school is arriving in ten minutes."
"Okay, Imma. I'm just getting my socks on."
When Chaim's mother hears this, she begins to get upset.
"What? You're not dressed yet? Chaim, how can that be? It is so late. You still haven't eaten breakfast yet. Oy, vey Chaim. It seems like every morning we struggle with getting ready on time."
The more she talks, the more agitated she becomes.
"Chaim, we have to make some changes here. This cannot go on. There is too much pressure every morning. Breakfast should be a happy relaxed time together. I am going to tell your father about this. He will have something to say."
Suddenly the telephone rings. Chaim's mother instantly calms down and answers the phone sweetly.
"Hello. Oh, Mrs. Kohn. How nice of you to call. Yes, I am a little busy now. Can I call you back in about half an hour? Very good. Speak to you soon. Bye."
"Imma, I'm leaving for school now."
"Okay, Chaim. We'll talk when you come home. Have a great day and learn well."
Chaim keeps mulling over the events of the morning, especially how his mother's mood changed when the telephone rang. Later that day, Chaim arrives home from school.
"Hi Imma, I'm home."
"Chaim dear, it's great to see you. I have lunch waiting for you. Come wash your hands and sit down."
Chaim washes, sits down, and begins to eat.
"Imma, this sure is yummy."
"Thank you Chaim. My pleasure. Chaim, I want to apologize about this morning."
"Oh Imma, it's not necessary."
"Yes it is Chaim. I learned something very important today and I want to share it with you. I heard a tape of a lecture on this week's Torah portion and the Rabbi spoke about the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) that was in the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple). Do you know what it was made of Chaim?"
"Very good Chaim. However, it was not pure gold. It was actually wood covered with gold on the inside and outside. I can understand why it was covered with gold on the outside, the part that everyone saw. What I did not understand was the need for the inside to be covered with gold. No one saw the inside of the Holy Ark."
"Imma, that is a great question. What's the answer?"
"The Keli Yakar answers this question. The Holy Ark was coated with gold inside and out, to teach us that a person should be the same, inside and out. His behavior should be consistently good, wherever he is. It does not matter whether he is in school, at the store, at home, in the playground, at the synagogue, or Grandma's house. He should always behave well."
"I understand Imma."
"I am afraid that I did not do so well this morning Chaim. I was behaving better to Mrs. Kohn on the telephone than to my own children. I should have spoken as sweetly to you as I did to her."
"I'm serious Chaim. A person should behave his best toward the people that he is closest to. Unfortunately, sometimes we have it reversed. We are nice to the outside world and not-so-nice to our families."
"Oh Imma, you're the best."
"Chaim, so are you. I am going to do my best to be like the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark), gold on the outside and on the inside."
"Imma, you already are gold on the inside. You have a heart of gold."
This is the true test of good middos (character traits). How do we behave toward our close family members? We are closest to them. Therefore, they deserve our best. How do we daven (pray) or make a beracha (blessing) when no one is watching us? As carefully as in public? Just remember that Hashem is always watching everything. Inside and out.
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.
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 kinderlach. 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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