Simcha's Torah Stories - Naso
Chaim, is shalom a good thing?
It sure is, Avi.
How good is it?
It's better than ice cream and cake.
Let's be serious, Chaim.
I am serious. I would not fight over a piece of cake.
I see what you mean. Do you know how much the Torah values shalom?
Let's see. We greet each other with shalom. We also bid each other farewell with shalom. It must be important. We also learn about Aharon HaKohen, the High Priest and brother of Moshe Rabbeinu. The Torah praises him because he loved shalom and pursued it.
Chaim, I never thought of that. I'll tell you what I was thinking. I was reading the Midrash on this week's Torah portion. The subject was the priestly blessings. The last blessing is, "May G-d shine His face upon you and grant you peace." The Midrash lists twenty reasons why shalom is great.
Really Avi? Twenty reasons?
That's right, Chaim. Then it lists eight reasons why shalom is so dear to us.
Twenty reasons why shalom is great. Wow! Can you tell me one?
Sure, Chaim. Shalom is equal in value to everything else in the world put together. We see this reflected in our morning prayers. "G-d forms light and dark, makes peace and creates everything." First He must make peace. Then He can create everything. Peace is the foundation upon which everything is created.
That's great Avi! Tell me another reason why peace is so great.
Okay, Chaim. Idol worship is one of the worst sins. Yet if there is shalom among the Jewish people, G-d will not punish them severely for idol worship. Can you imagine that? Shalom can fend off the worst punishment.
More, Avi. I want to hear more.
Do you want to receive the blessings of wisdom, health, wealth, and children, Chaim?
Of course I do, Avi.
Shalom is the best container for blessing. Nothing holds blessings better than shalom. It's better than aluminum foil, saran wrap, and zip lock bags all put together. Our daily prayers end with the blessing for peace. The priestly blessings end with the blessing for peace. We quote a verse from Psalms in our daily prayers, "G-d blesses His nation with peace."
Avi, I never realized . . .
Chaim, we have a mighty power at our fingertips. With it we can reap untold blessings. We can avoid punishment. We can acquire something as valuable as the world itself! That is the power of shalom.
Avi, I am really going to work on increasing shalom in the world. I am going to think twice before getting upset. I am going to try to have more patience. I am going to stay as far away from argument as I possibly can. Shalom is a great thing. A real treasure.
Chaim, sometimes the biggest treasure is buried right in your own back yard. Come, let's go tell some of the guys.
Avi I'm with you all the way.
Shalom Mendy! How are you?
Shalom, shalom Yaakov, good to see you! Boy do we have something great to tell you.
Imagine a large empty bin. Each minute people would come and put in one esrog a piece. The first minute (starting at 12 noon), one person came and put in one esrog. The second minute, two people put in one esrog a piece. A minute later, four people put in one esrog a piece. This pattern continued until the bin was exactly full at 6 p.m. At what time was the bin half empty?
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