Simcha's Torah Stories - Chukat

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Parshas Chukat


Og, Melech HaBashan. Og, Melech HaBashan. Og, Melech HaBashan.

What is that, Chaim, some kind of new breakfast cereal?

Not exactly, Avi. Og, Melech HaBashan was a king who lived a very long time. He was alive in the times of Avraham Avinu and did not die until that days of Moshe Rabbeinu, 500 years later! Thatís longevity.

How did he do it, Chaim? Special diet? Exercise? Lots of fresh air?

Not exactly, Avi. Iíll tell you something else about him that will make your hair stand on end.

Whatís that, Chaim?

The Jewish people were afraid of him. He heard of their miraculous victories and conquests on the way to the Land of Israel after their forty years of wandering in the desert. He went out to battle them. Even though G-d had promised them the Land of Israel, and they had experienced one miracle after another en route to the Land, still they were afraid that he might wipe them all out.

What did he have going for him, Chaim, that struck such fear in the heart of the people?

He had the merit of one mitzvah.

Youíre kidding.

No, Iím not, Avi.

What was that one mitzvah? It must have been a doozey.

In the days of Avraham Avinu, our father Abraham, there was a huge war among nine kingdoms. During that war, Avrahamís nephew Lot was captured. Og was one of the survivors of that war. He was jealous of Avraham Avinu and wanted to marry his beautiful wife, Sara. So he reported to Avraham that Lot had ben captured. Og hoped that Avraham would go to war to free Lot, and be slain in battle. Then Og could marry Sara. His plans were foiled when Avraham Avinu succeeded in freeing Lot. Ogís mitzvah was informing Avraham of Lotís capture. That enabled Avraham to save him.

What kind of a mitzvah is that, Chaim? He didnít want Avraham to save him. He wanted him to get killed!

You are 100% right. He did a mitzvah with absolutely no good intentions. Still, G-d rewarded him with long life. The merit of that mitzvah was so strong, that the Jewish people were afraid he would outlive them, and wipe them off the face of the earth.

I never realized that a mitzvah could be so powerful. Five hundred years of life for one mitzvah. Amazing.

Where are you going now, Avi?

Iím going to look for a mitzvah to do! I donít want to pass a single one by. There are big profits in the Mitzvah Business.

Avi, you are a smart businessman. Iíd like to be your partner.

Come, letís go learn Torah. Thatís a great mitzvah!

I can feel the stock market rising already.

Simcha's Quiz

If you were to put a coin into an empty bottle and then insert a cork into the neck, how could you remove the coin without taking out the cork or breaking the bottle?

Write Simcha with the correct answer to

Answer to Last Week's Question

The Question: An Indian guru tells his two sons to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. The one whose camel is slower will win. The brothers, after wandering aimlessly for days, ask a wise man for advise. After hearing the advice they jump on the camels and race as fast as they can to the city. What does the wise man say?

The Answer: The wise man tells them to switch camels.

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