Simcha's Torah Stories - Vayechi
Shhh. . . Daddy's coming. Let's all give him the most wonderful welcome of his life.
Knock knock. I'm home.
Shalom Daddy! How are you! It's great to see you! How was your day? Come in, relax. Have something to drink. What can we bring you? We're so happy you're home!
What a marvelous reception! Ahuva, you're smiling so sweetly. It really warms my heart. Chaim, I see all of your beautiful white teeth. What a handsome smile you have. Leah, do you know how much prettier you look when you smile? Avi, your smile comes straight from the heart. Mommy, you are smiling as warmly as the day I married you.
Daddy, we wanted to give you the best welcome of your life.
To what do I owe the honor of this extraordinary welcome?
We learned all about the importance of smiling in our class on the weekly Torah portion, Daddy.
Really! Please tell me about it.
Yaakov Avinu, our father Jacob, at the end of his life gave blessings to his sons. Each of Yaakov's twelve sons received his own individual blessing. Part of the blessing given to Yehuda was, "His eyes are red with wine, and his teeth are white with milk." (Bereshis 49:12). The Talmud in Tractate Kesuvos (111b) teaches us a very important lesson based on this verse. It is better to whiten your teeth to your friend (smile to him) than to pour milk for him. We all know how important it is to serve our guests food and drink when they arrive. We learn that from Avraham Avinu, our father Abraham. He literally ran to serve his guests. Now we learn that smiling is even more important.
That is truly amazing, children.
May I add to what you learned?
There are two passages in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers) which tell us of the importance of smiling. The first is in the very first chapter. "Shammai says, . . . receive everyone with a beautiful facial expression." Also in the third chapter, "Rabbi Yishmael says, . . . receive everyone with happiness." Children, it is so important to greet people with a smile. Let us count how many mitzvos we receive when we smile.
I know one!
We make people happy, which is a true act of kindness.
I have another one.
We can help make peace between people.
What do you want to say Ahuva?
We make G-d happy.
You're so right. When we are happy, He is happy.
Let's all keep smiling and smiling, and smiling away!
A shepherd had one sheep behind two sheep, one sheep in front of two sheep, and one sheep between two sheep. How many sheep did he have altogether?
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