I would like to share an insight on this week’s parshah from Rav Asher Zelig Rubenstein z”l, whose yahrzeit was last week. Rav Asher was the mashgiach at Yeshivas Itri in Yerushalayim and a chavrusa of mine there. He was the rosh yeshivah of Toras Simchah in Yerushalayim at the time of his passing.
At the beginning of the parshah, Paroh and Moshe Rabbeinu discuss allowing the Yidden to leave Mitzrayim. Paroh tells Moshe, לכו עבדו את ה" – Go and worship your G-d.” Paroh uses the word עבדו, avodah, work, implying that if Yiddishkeit is all serious, hard, work, he didn’t mind the Yidden leaving. If the Jews' service to Hashem is all negative, there is no way that Klal Yisroel will have a future. (Rav Asher z”l compared it to some of the few shomrei Shabbos in America at the turn of the century who felt burdened by the mitzvos, showing no joy in them, thereby laying the path for their children’s rejection of Torah.)
But Moshe replied to Paroh, “You don’t understand Yiddishkeit. It is not only serious avodah, it is חג ה‘ לנו. We take great simchah in keeping the mitzvos and we have joy in our lives. And when we keep the Torah in this manner, Moshe tells him, "בנערינו ובזקנינו נלך – We go together with our children.”
This serves as a message to parents and mechanchim everywhere: to convey great simchah in our approach and in our manner of fulfilling the mitzvos. Especially today, when there are so many “attractions” that entice and enthrall our children, we need to let them see and know that the greatest simchah is קיום המצוות. And with this approach,iy”H, our children will follow in our footsteps and realize that all of life is חג ה‘ לנו.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School