Simcha's Torah Stories - Vayelech

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Parshat Vayelech


Avi, is this picture straight?

A little over to the right, Mom. Now it is in the center of the wall. What a beautiful picture! Who is it Mom?

It is a picture of my grandfather, Avi.

He looks like a real tzaddik, Mom.

He was Chaim.

Where is he Mom?

He is in a beautiful place, Avi.

Can we go to visit him?

I'm afraid not.

Does he live far away? Can we get there by plane?

Sit down, Avi, and I will explain to you where Great-grandpa is. My grandfather did many things in his life. He worked at many different jobs. But his main job was building.

What did he build Mom?

He built himself a beautiful home. That is where he is living now.

Oh Mom, let's go to see him in his beautiful home. Please, please!

Avi, Great-grandpa's home is not like the houses on our street. I will explain to you how he built the home. G-d put Great-grandpa, and all of us, in the world to build homes for ourselves. He gave us a big wonderful Torah with 613 mitzvos. We can build a home of 613 rooms with those mitzvos.

613 rooms? That is a palace!

That's right, Avi. Each time that we do a mitzvah, we make that room a little bigger and nicer. If we do the mitzvah more carefully, or more beautifully, the room gets even nicer. My grandfather was very careful about his mitzvah observance. His entire life he did as many mitzvos as he could and did them as carefully and nicely as he could.

Wow Mom, his "mitzvah house" must be magnificent.

That is what I meant when I said that he built himself a beautiful home.

But I still don't understand, Mom. Why can't we visit Grandpa in his mitzvah home?

Because, Avi dear, we can live in that home only after we leave this world.

What do you mean when you say, "leave this world"?

That is a very good question, Avi. A person has so many years of life. After that, he passes away. It is only then that he goes to live in his "mitzvah home".

Do you know why your grandfather, my father lights a candle every year and says Kaddish?

I always wondered, Mom.

That day is Great-grandpa's Yahrtzeit, the anniversary of the day that he passed away from this world. This week's Torah portion is Vayelech. It takes place on the last day of Moshe Rabbeinu, our teacher Moses' life. We cannot comprehend the number of mitzvos that Moshe Rabbeinu performed in his life.

He led the Jewish people out of Egypt, received the Torah, and guided them through the desert for 40 years.

That's right, Avi. And much, much more. You might think that after doing so many mitzvos his whole life, he would take it easy the last day. Not Moshe Rabbeinu. He gathered all of the people together and explained to them that Yehoshua would now be their leader. He wrote an entire Sefer Torah, and he instructed the people how to perform the last two mitzvos of the Torah.

Wow, Mom.

That's right, Avi. Moshe Rabbeinu knew the value of a mitzvah. He knew that this was his last opportunity to fix up his "mitzvah house". So he took advantage and filled his last day, as every other day of his life, with mitzvos.

Mom, you have really inspired me. I want to have a beautiful home, just like Great-grandpa and Moshe Rabbeinu.

If you start now, Avi, you will. Hang up a sign in your room. "UNDER CONSTRUCTION". That will always remind you that every mitzvah that you do builds your home.

Thanks so much Mom. The home construction business is the best!

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