Simcha's Torah Stories - Sh'mot
"Tzippy, come in to the house now."
"Imma, we're playing jump rope and my turn is next. Can I take my turn and then come in?"
"How long will that me Tzippy?"
"Okay. See you in five minutes."
"Thank you Imma."
Five minutes later . . .
"Here I am Imma."
"Tzippy, thank you for being so prompt. Now it is time to do your homework. We are going to eat in about an hour, and you have to take a bath tonight, so you must begin your homework now."
"Imma, my tummy hurts. And I have a headache, and I'm tired from playing jump rope. I don't feel like doing homework now."
"Tzippy, when you were jumping around outside, you didn't complaint about your tummy and your head."
"I guess I wasn't thinking about them."
"It doesn't matter. Once you begin your homework, you won't be thinking about them either. Now take a drink of water and see if you feel better."
"Okay Imma. Can you help me with my homework?"
"Sure, Tzippy. What is it about?"
"I'll try. What is the question?"
"We have to write a devar Torah about Moshe Rabbeinu from this week's parsha."
"How about the burning bush?"
"That's a great idea, Imma. How does the story go again?"
"Moshe Rabbeinu, our teacher Moshe, was tending sheep in the land of Midian. He saw a bush that was burning. However, there was something very strange about that bush. It kept burning, and burning, and burning."
"And it never got burned up."
"Moshe Rabbeinu turned aside to get a good look at this bush, because it was a wondrous site. The G-d called out to him from the bush. Do you remember what He said, Tzippy?"
"Something about shoes?"
"Right again! 'Take your shoes off your feet, because that place where you are standing is holy ground.'"
"Where was Moshe standing, Imma? In the place of the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple)?"
"In the Holy City of Jerusalem?"
"In the Holy Land of Israel?"
"Then what was so holy about that place?"
"Excellent question, Tzippy. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, thee great sage who is known to us as the Chofetz Chaim, asks the very same question."
"That's really exciting. What's the answer?"
"Every place where you are standing is holy ground."
"How can that be?"
"Because, my dear Tzippy, you have the opportunity to make it holy."
"Wow. How, Imma?"
"When G-d gives you a mitzvah to do, it is an opportunity to make that moment and place in your life holy. That is the purpose of a mitzvah. To turn ordinary things into holy things. When you give tsedaka (charity), that ordinary money becomes holy. You, by giving the tsedaka, have made it holy. Did you ever write a nice note to someone and make them feel good?"
"You have taken an ordinary piece of paper and some ink, and turned it into a wonderful note which brightens a person's whole day. What a mitzvah!"
"That's great Imma, but I still don't understand what the Chofetz Chaim is saying about the burning bush."
"G-d was pointing this fact out to Moshe Rabbeinu. By telling him to take off his shoes because this ground was holy, He was telling Moshe that all ground is truly holy. We just do not see the holiness. Sometimes, a mitzvah is difficult for us to do. We're tired. We're hungry. We have a headache. We would rather just forget the whole thing. Why? Because we do not see the holiness. That mitzvah is holy ground and we do not realize it."
"I am beginning to understand, Imma. When you told me to begin my homework, that was an opportunity to do the mitzvah of listening to you, and learning Torah at the same time."
"Excellent Tzippy! Now let me tell you something else. Sometime it is easy to do a mitzvah. Other times, that same mitzvah is difficult because you are tired or hungry. The reward that you get for a mitzvah that is difficult to do, is much greater than the reward for that same mitzvah when it is easy to do."
"Sometimes we try to avoid mitzvos when they are difficult. We do not realize that we are on holy ground. G-d had a good reason to give us this mitzvah to do now when it is difficult. He wanted us to get a bigger reward."
"That's great Imma. What a great devar Torah. Thank you so much for helping me with my homework. I'm going to write it down now."
"Do you know something Imma?"
"You were right. My tummy doesn't hurt anymore. And I don't have a headache. And I'm not tired."
"I guess I just didn't realize where I was?"
"Where were you, Tzippy?"
"On holy ground."
Ohr Somayach's Youth Page
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
Production Design: Michael Treblow
Copyright © 2001 Ohr Somayach International. Send us Feedback.
Dedication opportunities are available for Torah Weekly. Please contact us for details.