Simcha's Torah Stories - Matot - Masei
Parshas Matot - Masei
FINISH WHAT YOU START
Please finish your breakfast before you leave for school.
Later that day . . .
Mom, can I go out to ride my bicycle now?
Did you finish your homework yet, Avi?
No, not yet.
First, finish your homework, then you can go out to ride.
The next day at the store . . .
Mom, can you please buy me that model car? It looks so neat and all I have to do is glue it together.
Avi, did you finish gluing together the last model that I bought you?
Uh, no Mom. Not yet.
Well, Avi, you have to finish that one first before we can buy you a new one.
Mom, it seems that you are always telling me to finish things. Finish your breakfast . . . finish your homework . . . finish you model. Why is it so important to finish everything?
Avi dear, may I answer your question with a question?
Why not, Mom?
What if G-d Himself told you to finish something that you started, would you listen to Him?
Of course, Mom.
That is exactly what happened in the desert, 3500 years ago.
Yes. Let me tell you the story. The nation of Midian tried to bring about the downfall of the Jewish people. They actually succeeded in convincing one of our leaders to join their way of thinking.
It was actually worse than that. Some of the Jewish people were ready to follow this leader. He was gaining power and a following and nobody arose to challenge him. The situation was getting worse by the moment. Then Pinchas stepped in. He began the rebellion against the nation of Midian and against the people who were following them.
What does that have to do with finishing what you start, Mom?
Iím not finished the story yet, Avi. Pinchas began the rebellion but unfortunately, there was no way to avoid a war with the nation of Midian. When it came time to fight the war, G-d Himself told Pinchas to lead the nation in battle. Normally this would have been the job of the Kohen Godol, Elazar HaKohen, the father of Pinchas.
Why did Pinchas lead the battle and not his father Elazar?
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the great Bible and Talmudic commentator, known to us as "Rashi" explains the answer to your question, Avi dear. Pinchas began the rebellion against Midian; therefore, it was his job to finish what he started. We learn from this the importance of finishing what you start.
If you want to get a little philosophical Avi, think about this. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A whole chair is more than the wood, fabric, and screws that went into making it. You cannot sit comfortably on pieces of wood. A car is much more than the parts that it is made of. They cannot drive you from place to place. Anything, when completed, becomes more than its individual parts. This is especially true of mitzvos (commandments). You may put a lot of effort into starting something and getting halfway through. It will take just as much effort to finish. However, you will have a whole thing. A whole complete nutritious meal, a complete homework assignment, a complete project. These are really worth something.
Thank you so much Mom, for finishing the story. You have really inspired me to always try to finish what I start.
Thatís a good start, Avi. Keep going and you will finish.
A truck travels 15 mph for the first half of the distance of a trip. The driver wants to average 30 mph for the whole trip. How fast must he travel for the second half of the trip?
Answer to Last Week's Question
You throw away the outside and cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat?
An ear of corn
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