Kinder Torah - Parshat Pinchas
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
and grandfather Mordechai Dovid ben Avigdor z"l Mr. David Shafer
Don't Lose the Opportunity
In the times of the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple) there was a special korbon (sacrifice) brought every Shabbos called the Olas Shabbos. This korbon consisted of two lambs, along with their meal, oil, and wine offerings. The Torah (Bamidbar 28:10) calls this the "Shabbos offering in its Shabbos." Why does the Torah need to tell us that the offering is brought in its Shabbos? Rashi answers that the offering can only be brought on that particular Shabbos. If for some reason the Olas Shabbos was not brought one Shabbos, the Kohen could not offer up a double offering the following Shabbos. When the time passed, the opportunity was lost. Many mitzvos are bound to a particular time. If they are not performed in their appointed time, the opportunity is lost. Sometimes the mitzvah can be recouped in a bidi'eved (less than ideal) fashion. However, the li'chat'chila (finest form of the mitzvah) is gone forever.
This concept applies to other areas also. As Shlomo HaMelech wrote in Koheles (3:1-8) "Everything has its season and there is a time for everything under the heavens." In our daily lives, we have our schedules of learning, davening (prayers), meals, resting, cleaning, etc. These are all done their best in the proper time set aside for them.
When Imma tells us that it is time to eat, do you know that that means? It means that it is time to eat. A family meal together is a wonderful thing, and Imma works hard so that we can all enjoy our meal together. If you come after everyone has eaten, you miss that family time. In fact, Imma might not even serve a special meal for someone who comes late, when that person could have come on time. It is good to develop the habit of being on time. When we grow older and have fixed times for davening and learning, we surely do not want to be late. We will ruin the quality of the mitzvah by being late, and we might not even get the mitzvah at all.
Be A Good Example
We learn from the behavior of others. The greater a person is, the more his behavior has the power to influence. When an ordinary person makes a mistake, those around him may be influenced. When the sinner is a Prince of a Tribe of Israel, the influence is tremendous. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l in his book, "Darash Moshe" asks the following question. Why did the Torah not mention the name of Zimri Ben Salua at the time of his sin? Only after he was killed by Pinchas does the Torah reveal his identity. Rav Moshe answers that Zimri was a Prince of the Tribe of Shimon. His deeds have a powerful influence on people. If his identity were known at the time of his sin, people would learn to sin from him. Only after he was killed and thereby proven wrong was his identity revealed. At that point, he could influence no one. Rav Moshe writes that we can learn a very important lesson from this. The best way to influence the behavior of another is to be an example. That is more effective than any reproof.
"Mendy talks during davening. I really want him to stop. I'll tell him how wrong it is and how much it bothers me. Then he will stop." Rav Moshe zt"l tells us to try a different approach. The best way to help Mendy stop talking during davening is to be quiet ourselves. He will learn from our example. Besides that, if everyone is quiet, he will have no one to talk to. Kinderlach, you can change the world. Start with yourself. Be an example. Others will follow.
Mourning the Beis HaMikdash
During these three weeks, we mourn the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish People; first and foremost, the loss of the Beis HaMikdash. A mourner is sad because he has experienced a loss. In order for us to mourn, we have to realize what we have lost. The Gemora in Sukkah 51b says, "one who has not seen the Beis HaMikdash has never seen a majestic building." Let us try to recall the most magnificent building we have ever seen. The Beis HaMikdash was infinitely more beautiful. It was much more than an awesome structure. It was the focal point of a whole different world.
Come children, it is almost Pesach. Hurry and pack up, we are going to Yerushalaim to the Beis HaMikdash! But I will miss my friends Heshy and Yankel. Don't worry they will be going too, along with all of our friends, family and neighbors. Won't it be crowded there in Yerushalaim? Wait until you get there. You will see one of Hashem's miracles. No matter how many people will come, there will always be room for everyone in Yerushalaim.
I see the Beis HaMikdash off in the distance! Look at that, the wind is blowing very strong, and the column of smoke is not moving! What a miracle! When we get closer, you will see a fire that even the heaviest rains cannot extinguish. Look, there's Heshy, there's Yankel, and there's Uncle Abe! What a beautiful sight to see everyone coming to Yerushalaim!
Here we are now in the courtyard of the Beis HaMikdash. Everyone is standing crowded together. The next part of the service requires us to lie down. What will we do? Where will we have room? Look at that, a miracle! There is plenty of room for everyone to lie down.
May we all merit to properly mourn the Beis HaMikdash and therefore be present to rejoice in its rebuilding.
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