This is Chana Rochel Kotler (4), of Morristown, New Jersey, and she's holding a big basket full of candies, as you can see. No, it's not a Purim basket full of shaloch monos. All those candies are for children who were coming to her house to say ‘Shema’ by the crib of her newborn baby brother on the night before his bris, when he became a Jew.

And what name did her brother receive?

Binyamin Ber Kotler.

Chana also lights candles for Shabbos and Yom Tov, gives tzedoka (charity) every day, and she made a big birthday party for kids in her school on her birthday. She also knows what it means to dress modestly (tznius), and is careful about keeping this important Mitzvah.

Thank you Chana for this report of the Mitzvos you are doing. You are really a Mitzvah Champion!


The Question Box

Dear Question Box,
How could it be that when a Cohen brought an offering in the Temple, he had to kill the animal? Isn’t it a sin to spill blood? How could this be done with great joy and happiness? Why couldn’t Hashem kill it so that the Cohen wouldn’t have to?

Chani K. Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Chani,
Let me ask you a question. If you found a chicken lying dead in the street, would you take it home to eat it?

Of course not.

We don’t eat dead animals. Maybe the animal had some disease!

Before we can eat an animal, it must be killed by a person (not by Hashem) according to the laws and directions that Hashem gives us in the Torah.

This is called ‘Shechita.’

An animal that dies by itself is called a 'nevaila.' It is forbidden to be eaten.

Shechita is different. It elevates the meat of a kosher animal so that it will be fit to be eaten, and so that it can become our flesh and blood, and give us energy to learn Torah and do Mitzvos. In this way, the animal actually becomes part of the world of Torah and Mitzvos.

This is a mystery that Hashem revealed to us. It wasn't always so. Before Noach, no one was allowed to kill or eat an animal. When the Torah was given, Hashem gave us laws about how to slaughter animals so that we can eat them and use them in our service of G‑d.

So you see, shechita is not a sin. It’s a big Mitzvah. And being a Shochet is a very important and responsible position.

Once a person was advised by his Rebbe to become a Shochet. The person said he was afraid of the responsibility. He was nervous that if he did not do the job properly, he would be feeding non-kosher (treifa) meat to people!

“So who should do it?” the Rebbe replied. “Someone who isn't afraid of the responsibility?"

P.S. Throughout the years, anti-semites have often tried to make it illegal for Jews to practice the Mitzvah of Shechita. They have claimed that it is cruel and painful. But that is not true. Just the opposite. The shechita knife is so sharp that the animal never even feels it. These so-called animal lovers just want to fight against Hashem and against His Torah.