Simcha's Torah Stories - Noach
YOUR MITZVOS, YOUR CHILDREN
"Grandpa, I always love coming to your home."
"Avi, the pleasure is all mine. You are a wonderful grandson and a joy to be with. What do you want to do today?"
"Can we look at pictures Grandpa?"
"Of course Avi. I have many photo albums. Which pictures would you like to see?"
"How about the ones of your father and mother. I like to see how they looked when they arrived in America, 100 years ago."
"Avi, you give me such nachas. Do you know how many boys do not even want to visit their grandparents? When they do visit, they go straight to the television and all but ignore them. But you are different. Not only do you come to visit me, but you take the time to sit together with me and learn about our family history."
"Thank you so much, Grandpa."
"Here are the pictures of Great-grandpa and Great-grandma."
"Everything is so old. It looks like a different world."
"It was a different world, Avi. In many ways."
"Really? Can you tell me about it Grandpa?"
"My pleasure, Avi. When my father arrived in America, it was very difficult for a Jew to observe Shabbos. Everyone worked six days a week and was off on Sunday. If you told your boss that you wanted to take off from work on Shabbos, he would fire you on the spot."
"What did Great-grandpa do?"
"He got a different job every week."
"He would work five days and then not come on Shabbos. When he returned Monday morning, he received his pay and was told to leave."
"That must have been so difficult, Grandpa."
"It was not easy, Avi. But two things kept Great-grandpa going. His love of G-d and the mitzvos, and his love of Great-grandma and the kids. He knew that keeping the mitzvos, and especially the Shabbos was the most important thing in the world. He also knew that his wife and children were dependent upon him to support them. Therefore he kept the Shabbos, and he kept working."
"What a hero he was."
"True, Avi. There were many unsung heroes like him in America then. They kept the flame of Torah burning in those difficult days."
"He loved the mitzvos, and he loved his children. Was Great-grandpa related to Rav Moshe Feinstein?"
"I don't think so. Why do you ask, Avi?"
"Because Rav Moshe writes about loving mitzvos and loving you children in this week's parsha."
"How fascinating, Avi. Please tell me about it."
"The verse says, 'These are the offspring of Noach. Noach was a tsaddik (righteous person), perfect in his generation' (Bereshis 6:9). Rashi comments that the main offspring of tsaddikim are their good deeds. The Torah could have used a different example to illustrate the point that good deeds are very important. Why did it compare them to offspring?"
"That is a good question, Avi."
"Rav Moshe explains that we should love our good deeds (mitzvos) as we love our children. Sometimes a person takes a mitzvah lightly or does not perform it at all because he feels that it is not so important. Would he take the same attitude toward his child? Of course not. A person makes sure that his children have the very best that he can possibly give them. He should take equal care to make sure he performs his mitzvos with his very best efforts."
"Avi, that is exactly how Great-grandpa lived his life. He took wonderful care of us, and he took great care to perform the mitzvos to the best of his abilities. Now, look at the fruits of his labors. He has merited to have a wonderful great grandson."
"That is how G-d rewarded him. He loved the mitzvos like children, and he merited to have children, grand-children, and great- grand-children who love the mitzvos just as he did."
"Avi, I am sure that this very moment he is smiling down upon you from Heaven."
"Grandpa, you're wonderful."
"Avi, so are you."
Ohr Somayach's Youth Page
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
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