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December 26, 2014

It is about the little things

by Rabbi Dovid Felt

A theme carried over from last weeks Torah Portion to the festival of Chanukah highlights the significance of the little things. The Gemorah in Shabbos asks what is (Mai) Chanukah? Concluding that the reason the Rabbis established the festival of Chanukah was to commemorate the miracle of the flask of oil that only had enough oil for one day but lasted eight days. The question is asked why of all the miracles that transpired during the Chanukah period was the miracle of the lights chosen. When measuring miracles this would pale in comparison to the victory on the battlefield where the weak overcame the strong the few overcame the many etc.?

A similar question is found on the Torah’s narrative about the sale of Yosef to a group of Arab nomads. The Torah tells us his new masters were transporting spices instead of the usual animal hides or paraffin fuel that was more common for Arab nomads to be carrying. The Medrash on the Possuk tells us HKB”H arranged it to show how much He cares about his righteous ones. He wanted to make sure that Yosef had was sweet smelling produce to counteract the usual foul smell found on these nomads. What is difficult to understand is Yosef, at this point was traumatized, he had been thrown in a pit with scorpions then he was sold to Arabs why would he care what the caravan transporting him smelt like?

The answer to both these question is that HKB”H wants us to know that even though we are going through difficult times he is sharing those difficult times with us. This is conveyed and demonstrated by the little things that normally should not be there and are there only through a miracle of Hashem. As parents we have that ability to show our love even when our child is struggling and may not be in the frame of mind to appreciate it. This can be done with a little note, a pat on the back or a word of encouragement. While the little note etc. is not glamorous nor is it able to alleviate the difficulty it can sometimes make the difference in helping our child get through their hardship.

Felt tips

It is about the little things – We are moving towards the end of the semester and with it comes finals time. This time is very stressful for most students. Somehow in a matter of a week students are expected to review and know all they learned in the last four months plus. This includes all their Torah and secular studies classes. This amounts to an average of eight subjects. When you combine all that information together it can be extremely overwhelming. I  would venture to say that a student in a dual curriculum program such as Valley Torah is expected to know and is being tested on more information than the average student in one of the UC colleges.  While we cannot do the learning for our children nor can we take their tests we can be mindful of what they are going through. It is the little things that we can do to help that will show them how much we care and give them the strength and will to persevere and do well.

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