Kinder Torah - Parshas Tzav (Parshas Parah)
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
Parshat Tzav (Parshas Parah)
The Clothes Fit
"The Kohen shall wear his fitted linen garment" (Vayikra 6:3). The Malbim zt"l points out that the garments were fitted exactly according to the middos (physical measurements) of the Kohen. When discussing the Bigdei Kehuna (clothing of the Kohanim) in Parshas Tetzaveh (Shemos 28:2) the Malbim explains the spiritual aspect of the middos of these garments. Although the Torah appears to be explaining the character and construction of the external clothing of the Kohanim, in reality it is detailing the internal garb of their souls. Those holy Kohanim who serve Hashem must clothe their souls in good middos (character traits), proper ideas and attitudes. The holy external garments were only a means to teach the Kohanim that they must fix up their souls and their middos, which are the internal garb of the soul. Then they will be truly fit to serve Hashem.
"Middos Tovos are the measure of a person. Let's go around the Shabbos table and see how many middos tovos we can name." "Patience." "Very good Leah!" "Always telling the truth." "Excellent, Rivkah!" "Speaking softly." "That's so important Efraim." "Being organized." "That helps everything go well, Ahuva." "Not wasting anything." "I can see you appreciate what Hashem gives you Doni. Okay, let each one of us pick a middah and work on it this week. Next week we will report back with our success stories." "But wait a minute, Abba. How do we work on our middos?" "Excellent question kids. Let us look into Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l's explanation of this week's maftir for the answer."
"This is the law of the Torah . . . And you shall take a completely red cow" (Bamidbar 19:2). The parsha then proceeds to discuss the Parah Adumah (Red Cow) and its role in the purification process. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l points out that the verse should begin with the words, "This is the law of the Parah Adumah." After all, that is the topic of discussion. Why does the verse refer to the whole Torah? Rav Moshe answers that the whole Torah works in the same fashion as the Parah Adumah. The ashes of the Parah Adumah purified those who were impure, and defiled the pure ones who worked with it. Similarly with our middos. If we direct the use of our middos the way that the Torah prescribes, then they will become purified. However, the opposite will only corrupt. Rav Moshe gives examples. Humility has to be directed towards oneself, and honor directed toward others. This will purify that middah. However one who, G-d forbid, does the opposite, honors himself and lowers others, will only corrupt that middah. Similarly, with money matters. One must give his own money generously, but he must be very careful about taking any money from others unjustly. That purifies him. Being stingy and taking everything that you can ruins that middah.
The Torah is our guide to good middos. It will tell you whom to honor and whom to humble. When to be quiet and when to speak up. When to move quickly, and when to take things slow. When we follow the Torah, we acquire good middos. Do you remember the middos that we spoke about earlier? Let us all discuss when the Torah tells us to use those middos. For example, when should we be patient? When we are waiting in line. Or when we are waiting for Imma to serve the food. When should we go quickly? When we are going to shul. When should we be quiet? When someone is talking to us. When should we speak up? When we want to say Divrei Torah. Kinderlach, let's think of as many examples as we can of good middos and their proper use.
Who Would Ever Think ...
The Torah writes (Vayikra 7:18) that it is forbidden to eat a korbon (sacrifice) which has become pigul (unfit). If the Kohen was thinking an improper thought at the time he was sacrificing the korbon, it becomes pigul. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 98:4) compares tefillah (prayer) to korbonos (sacrifices). Therefore, we must be careful not to allow an improper thought to cross our minds while praying, as it will invalidate the tefillah in the same way that it made the korbon pigul. The Shulchan Aruch continues to explain that we should have a makom kavuah (fixed place) for tefillah, just as each person had a fixed place where he prepared his korbon. It is fitting for everyone to have nice, clean clothes for tefillah.
Tefillah (prayer) is so important. Many people ask our great Rabbis for advice on how to succeed in the areas of marital harmony and child rearing. Many times, their advice begins with the importance of praying to Hashem for success. Prayer is our opportunity to speak to Hashem. We are standing before the Creator of the World and He is listening to us. Let us all take our time kinderlach, and pray with the proper thoughts, in our own place, wearing nice clothes. May Hashem accept our pure tefillos, just as He accepted the korbonos in the Beis HaMikdash.
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