Toras Avigdor Junior
A Miracle Nation
Elazar stood up and made believe he was clearing his throat; it was his turn to say a dvar Torah at the Friday night Shabbos seudah. “The parsha begins like this,” he said. “Va’yishma Yisro – And Yisro heard about everything that Hashem did for the Am Yisroel; how He took them out of Mitzrayim … and he decided to go and be with the Yidden in the Midbar.
“So my rebbi’s question was,” continued Elazar, “What was so great about Yetzias Mitzrayim and Kriyas Yam Suf that it made Yisro leave his home and join the Am Yisroel? It’s not easy to just pick up and move! So Rabbi Berkowitz said that when Yisro heard about what Hashem was doing for the Am Yisroel, things that had never happened before in the history of the world, he realized that this was something so special, that he wanted to be a part of it – even if it meant uprooting his whole life!”
“Very nice Elazar,” said Mommy. “That was beautiful.”
“But I have a kasha!” Dovid called out. “Yisro heard about the special things that were happening, but he didn’t hear that anything else was going to happen!
“All the makkos happened already! Everyone already had the fun of watching Paroi in pajamas in the middle of the night! Kriyas Yam Suf happened already – the fun of watching all the wicked Mitzrim drowning – and now they were all loaded with gold and silver from the Mitzrim. At this point all those special things were over already! Why would Yisro join now?”
“You know what, Dovid?” Totty said. “I’ve never thought about this before. Let’s go ask Rav Ruttner after davening in shul tomorrow.”
Shabbos Morning In Shul
As soon as mussaf was over Dovid and Elazar began gathering together and putting away all the siddurim and chumashim on the tables. That was their weekly minhag and as big of a job as it was, they loved doing it.
As they were putting away the siddurim on the shelves, Mr. Abrams approached. Mr. Abrams was new in the shul – Totty had told the boys that he had recently moved to Flatbush from Montana. Montana!? Dovid and Elazar didn’t even know where that was but it sounded like it was far away – probably even further out than Lakewood!
“Boys, would you mind if I helped you?” said Mr. Abrams, “I would love joining in the mitzvah of keeping the shul nice and orderly.”
“Sure,” said Dovid. “Did you have this job in your shul in Montana too?”
“Well,” said Mr. Abrams with a twinkle in his eye, “Actually we didn’t have a shul in my town in Montana. There aren’t even any Jews there.”
“No Jews?! No shul?!” said Dovid, “So what were you —I mean how were you — I mean why were you in Montana?”
Mr. Abrams smiled. “I’m the only Jew from my town because I’m a ger – I converted to Judaism.”
“Wow! That’s so interesting!” said Dovid, “We were just learning about Yisro in yeshiva but I never met a real live ger before. When did you become a Jew?”
“It’s a very long story,” said Mr. Abrams, “but to make a long story short I loved reading history books even after I finished high school. And the more I read, the more I became curious about the Jewish people. I was reading about all the ancient nations and how they were so big and powerful but eventually they all went lost. There’s no more Ancient Egypt, no more Ancient Greece and Rome and Bavel! And meanwhile, the little Jewish nation has survived. I realized that it’s a real miracle!
“When I learned about all the miracles that Hashem did for the Am Yisroel like Yetzias Mitzrayim and Kriyas Yam Suf and the Mann and everything else and, I realized that those miracles were a way of Hashem showing the Jewish people that He loves them.
“Hashem could have saved the Am Yisroel in other ways without miracles. Pharaoh could have just gotten the flu and he would have been too sick to chase them. But the Chovos Halevavos says that the nissim were a special present that Hashem gave to the Jewish people to show them how much He loves them and that He’ll always be watching over them. It was a way of Hashem saying that He’ll do anything for the Yidden and that they will be around forever.
“When I read about all these nissim that Hashem did, I decided that I wanted to join this special nation. If Hashem loves them so much that He’ll split oceans for them, I want to be a part of it too!”
Just then Totty walked over to the boys, “Thank you Mr. Abrams for helping out. Boys, did you forget that we have a shailah for the Rov? Let’s catch him before he leaves the shul!”
“Don’t worry Totty,” said Dovid, “because of Mr. Abrams we know the answer to my question from the seudah last night. When Yisro saw that Hashem made such great miracles for the Am Yisroel he realized that this was the nation that Hashem loves most. And he decided not to stay in Midyan and get lost in history, when he could instead join the forever nation.”
Have a Wonderful Shabbos