Kinder Torah - Parshat Tetzaveh (Shushan Purim)
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
Parshat Tetzaveh (Shushan Purim)
"There is one nation scattered and dispersed among the nations ... their laws are different, and they do not observe the King's laws" (Esther 3:8). This was Haman's accusation against the Jewish people. The simple explanation of these words is a claim against the loyalty of the Jewish people. They keep themselves as a nation apart from the other nations, by not observing the King's laws. Instead, they observe their own laws. Additionally, they are spread out, thereby influencing many others, and making themselves difficult to conquer.
The Meam Loez offers a deeper explanation of this verse. The word mifurad (dispersed) refers to their relationship with each other. Their hearts are divided, and they have no unity among themselves. There is hatred between them. We know that this is the biggest accusation against the Jewish people. This sinas chinam (hatred for no good reason) is the reason that the second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, and has not yet been rebuilt to this very day. This is the reason for the threat of destruction by Haman and Achashverous.
"Go and gather all of the Jews who are found in Shushan" (Esther 4:16). The Meam Loez explains that this will save the Jewish people. Haman accused them of not being unified. Gather together, appease one another, and love each other. Show that you are unified by listening to the words of Mordechai, the Godol HaDor (premier Rabbi of the generation).
This is a lesson that we have learned many times. Sinas Chinam is one of the worst traits of the Jewish people. Purim is a time when we overcame this problem. The mitzvos of the day are all designed to bring love and unity among Jews. Mishloach manos (sending gifts of food), and matonos lo'evyonim (giving gifts to poor people) will bring us closer to the ones we give to. Mishte vi'simcha (eating, drinking, and being happy together) brings hearts close together. Kinderlach let us make this Purim like the one in Shushan, a time of great unity and salvation for the Jewish people.
"You shall make holy garments for Aharon your brother, for glory and splendor" (Shemos 28:2). Thus the Torah begins the description of the Bigdei Kehuna (Priestly Garments) worn by the Kohanim during their service in the Beis HaMikdash. The Ksav Sofer zt"l in his commentary on the Torah discusses these garments and also other types of Jewish clothing. He cites that rabbinical garments worn by talmidei chachomim give glory to them (and the Torah they represent). Additionally, they serve as a constant reminder to them of the elevated stature of a talmid chochom. One of the distinguishing features of the Jews in Egypt was their clothing. They did not fall to the lowest level of impurity because they retained their clothing, their names, and their language. We see how important it is for a Jew to dress properly.
The Pele Yoatz sets down guidelines for proper dress. The middle path is the best. Clothing should not be too fancy or expensive, because this can bring out pride and arrogance in a person. Additionally, extravagant clothing sets a fashion trend and puts pressure upon those who cannot afford such expensive clothes. At the other extreme, clothing should not be ragged, torn, or dirty. Such clothing does not honor the wearer. The Jewish people, Hashem's chosen nation, dress in a dignified manner that gives honor to their Creator and His Torah. We are not subject to the whims and styles of the fashions of the day. Our clothes remind us who we are, and what we are doing in this world.
Don't you feel good when you get dressed up in your best clothes for Shabbos? You almost feel like a different person. You see what a big effect clothes can have on a person. Perhaps you can ask Abba or Imma to review the halachos of tznius (dignity) in dress with you. Develop good dressing habits now, and they will stay with you the rest of your lives.
The Prayers of Children
We all know that Haman's evil plan was to destroy the Jewish people. With whom did he want to begin the destruction? The Medrash Rabba (Esther 9:4) writes that Haman found Mordechai in the Beis HaMedrash with 22,000 children, dressed in sackcloth learning Torah and crying out to Hashem in prayer. Haman bound them in chains and told them that the next day they would be the first to be slain followed by Mordechai. The mothers of these children wanted to send food, but the children would rather fast and weep for the salvation of the Jewish people. Their cries went straight up to heaven. Hashem heard them and arose from His seat of judgment to go sit on His seat of mercy. At that moment, Hashem tore up the evil decree against the Bnei Yisrael. That night He disturbed Achashverosh's sleep, thereby beginning the salvation. We see from this the power of tefillah (prayer). The prayers of those 22,000 children aroused Hashem's mercy for the Jewish people.
At times we may get lazy, and allow our tefillos (prayers) to become a dull repetition of the words. The Mishna in Pirkei Avos (2:18) says, "Do not allow your tefillah to become routine, rather you should appeal for mercy and favor before Hashem." We always have to remember children that Hashem listens to all of our tefillos. Make sure you say your tefillos slowly and with kavannah (concentration). Think about the words you are saying. Look into the siddur or close your eyes. Do not get distracted by looking around. In the zechus (merit) of your tefillos, children, Hashem should have mercy on all of Klal Yisrael.
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