Kinder Torah - Parshas Va'etchanan - Shabbos Nachamu
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
Parshat Va'etchanan - Shabbos Nachamu
Guard Your Body and Soul
"I smell smoke. Do you think that it is dangerous?"
"Not really. Itís probably a brush fire."
"No itís not. Look, the smoke is coming out of that house!"
"Letís go see what is doing!"
"Stay away, stay away! Itís too dangerous to enter the house at this point. Everyone is safely outside anyway."
"Where is little Moishie?"
"Oh no! I forgot about him."
With that, the man rushes quickly inside and finds little Moishie, asleep on his bed. He picks him up and carries him outside, saving him from certain death. Everyone is speechless at the great act that they have just witnessed.
The verse writes, "Only guard yourself and greatly guard your soul" (Devarim 4:9). The Keli Yakar explains that the words "Guard yourself" refer to guarding your body. We are commanded to take care of ourselves. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch devotes two chapters (32 and 33) to proper health care and dangers to be avoided. However, that is only part of the story. "Greatly guard your soul" shows that the soul needs even greater protection than the body. Spiritual dangers can cause far more harm than the physical ones.
A few weeks later, Moishieís father was talking about the fire with a friend.
"What caused the fire? I heard that it was an electrical spark."
"Thatís true. However, that spark was Hashemís messenger, telling me that I needed to put more sparks of kedusha (holiness) into my life. My tefillah (prayer) has been very rushed and routine lately. I was running a Shabbos afternoon group for young men last year, and I discontinued it this year. Hashem gave me a "potch" to ignite a spark in me to put more effort into serving Him better.
Vacation time is upon us. We have a chance to relax and wind down a bit. We can do wonderful things during vacation, but we also have to watch ourselves. Swimming, hiking, and touring all require special safety precautions. There are also harmful spiritual influences. Stay away from them, as you would run from a fire. Our Torah learning protects us. We are learning less Torah during vacation time, so we need extra protection. Take special care with your tefillah and performance of mitzvos. Protect your soul.
Review 101 Times
"Lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen" (Devarim 4:9). Our sages tell us that we must remember what we learn. The Keli Yakar points out that in order to remember we must review. He finds a wonderful hint to this in the words zachar (remember) and shachach (forget). The gematria (numerical value) of the word zachar is 227. The gematria (numerical value) of the word shachach is 328. The difference between the two is 101. The difference between remembering and forgetting something is reviewing it 101 times. If you want to remember what you learned, review it 101 times.
Vacation is a wonderful time to review what you learned during the year. You have the time and you are relaxed. Review is much easier and more insightful than learning the first time. The more that you review Torah, the sweeter it becomes. Take advantage of vacation time to review. You wonít regret it.
You Will Be Heard
"Yanky, wake up! You donít want to be late. Today is your big appointment."
"Thanks, Imma. Youíre right. Today I am going to see the Gadol HaDor!"
"Yanky, Abba worked very hard to get an appointment to see him. Now you have your chance to meet him."
"Imma, I canít wait."
Later that day, Yanky returns home with his Abba, after their meeting with the Gadol HaDor.
"Yanky how was it? What was he like? What did he say to you?"
"It was amazing. The Rav is such a big, important man. He has so many people waiting to see him about so many different things."
"Oh, I see. I guess he did not have too much time for you."
"On the contrary. That was the amazing part. He took the time to listen to me very carefully. He sat very patiently, gave me his full attention and just listened. That is the greatness of the Gadol HaDor. He takes the time to listen."
The Medrash Rabba (Devarim 2:1) writes, "Abba Shaul says, ĎIf a person concentrates fully on his tefillah (prayer), it will surely be heard.í"
We all want people to listen to us. We have something to say, and we want others to listen. We want our friends, neighbors, and parents to listen to us. Could you imagine if the Rav of the shul made an appointment with you to hear what you have to say? Wow! What about the Rav of the city? What about the Gadol HaDor? Guess what kinderlach? Someone much more important is waiting to listen to you. He will hear every word that you have to say. Who is He? Hashem. When you concentrate on your tefillah with all of your heart, He listens to every word.
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