Toras Avigdor Junior
Cleaning For the Robots
The Holtzbacher home was abuzz – literally. The family’s new housekeeping robots were bustling around, cleaning the house. One robot with sponges for hands was busy cleaning the windows. Another was scooping up toys off the floor and putting them on their proper shelves in the playroom. In the kitchen, a team of pastry robots were busy making cookies and cakes for the Sheva Brachos that the Holtzbachers were hosting the next day.
Ari Holtzbacher walked into the house after a day of learning in cheider and took off his backpack. A gleaming stainless steel robot zoomed over, took it from him, removed the mishnayos chazara sheet from inside, and placed it neatly on the dining room table, while a shiny black robot swiftly fetched a mishnayos from the shelf and put it next to the chazara sheet.
“Thank you!” Ari said to yet another robot that had just come from the kitchen carrying a paper cup filled with ice water. Ari then made a beautiful shehakol, reading the brocha off of the electronic screen built into the robot’s chest, and drank the water. The robot then refilled his cup and put it next to his mishnayos.
Ari began to learn. He usually would go play with his friends before dinner, but there was a big mishnayos test coming up and he wanted to make sure he knew it well. And besides, Mommy said he couldn’t go play until his room was clean and the robot that did that was cleaning his sister Malky’s room first.
“Hi Ari, how was school?” Totty said, walking into the dining room.
Ari hurriedly stood up for his father before answering. “Boruch Hashem, great!” he said with a smile.
Totty offered to help Ari with his chazara and the two of them sat down to learn together.
The Mishna in Maasros was describing at what point different fruit become chayav in Maaser. “I don’t understand what the Mishna means by ‘הָאֲפַרְסְקִין מִשֶּׁיָּטִילוּ גִּידִים’,” Shimmy said. “אֲפַרְסְקִין are peaches, right? But what does ‘מִשֶּׁיָּטִילוּ גִּידִים’ mean?”
“Well actually,” Totty said. “In modern Hebrew אֲפַרְסֵק is a peach, but it’s a machlokes what אֲפַרְסְקִין in the Mishna are. Rashi and some other Rishonim say that they are indeed peaches, however some meforshim say that they are actually pistachios. But assuming they are peaches, it means that red lines start to appear inside the fruit.”
“Red lines in the fruit?” asked Ari. “I guess I never paid too much attention to the inside of a peach before.”
“Well why don’t we see for ourselves,” Totty said. “The peaches in our garden are just starting to ripen. Let’s go out and maybe we can find one just like the Mishna describes!”
Ari and Totty got up to walk outside. As they walked across the dining room towards the garden, Ari tossed his now-empty cup onto the floor.
“Ari!” said Totty, surprised. “How could you just throw your cup on the floor? I’m shocked!”
“Well, I just figured a robot would clean it up anyway,” Ari said, as just then a floor-sweeping robot rolled into the dining room and promptly began sweeping the floor.
“Ari,” Totty said. “It says in this week’s Parsha by the Mitzvah of Orlah ‘וְכִֽי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ וּנְטַעְתֶּם כָּל עֵץ מַֽאֲכָל – When you come to Eretz Yisroel and you shall plant all forms of fruit trees’. And the Medrash tells us that even in the beautiful and fruitful Eretz Yisroel there is a Mitzvah to plant trees!”
“But it’s not just about trees. The lesson here is that wherever we are, we must respect our environment and take care of it. You’re in a beautiful home – don’t disrespect it by throwing trash on the floor.
“When you’re in the beis midrash and you take a sefer off the shelf, you put it back on the shelf. It is basic hakoras hatov to make sure we leave our surroundings just the way we find them.”
“Oh,” said Ari sheepishly. “I didn’t think of it that way.” And quickly, before the robot could make it to the cup, Ari picked it up and put it in the trash can.
“One more thing, Ari,” his father added. “We always have to keep in mind what the world will look like after we leave from here. Are we “planting beautiful trees and flowers” and making it better with our mitzvos? Or are we “throwing garbage on the floor” and “planting thorns” – ruining the world by our aveiros?
“This is a very important lesson that I heard from Rav Avigdor Miller thirty years ago and I still think about it every single day. I hope you remember it as well.”
Have A Wonderful Shabbos!
We must always be productive and “plant” and make the world better. Certainly we shouldn’t ruin anything.