Simcha's Torah Stories - Vayeshev

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Parshas Vayeshev


Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Big, big news break! Read all about it!

What's the news break, sir? A hurricane in South America?


An earthquake in California?


Fighting in Angola?

Guess again.

Political scandal?

You have one more try, young man.

I give up, sir.

Yesterday, a young lady performed a wonderful and amazing act of kindness. She organized a group of girls to pay hospital visits and bring flowers to over one hundred sick patients in one day!

That's news?

It surely is young man. Hospital patients know how lonely and depressing a stay in the hospital can be. A visit brightens up the person's whole day. Not only that, it even helps the patient's healing process (Tractate Nedarim p. 39b.) And bringing flowers is just the icing on the cake. Beautiful flowers spruce up the hospital room. This young woman performed an extraordinary feat, brightening the lives of one hundred hospital patients.

But sir, I thought things like that did not make news.

What is your name, young man?


Chaim let me tell you a story from this week's Torah portion, Vayeishev. Yosef HaTzaddik, our righteous ancestor, was one of twelve sons of Yaakov. His brothers plotted to kill him. Reuven, the oldest brother, convinced the others to lower Yosef into a pit instead of killing him. His plan was to return to the pit, take Yosef out, and return him to their father, Yaakov. His plan failed because the other brothers drew Yosef out of the pit and sold him to band of passing travelers.

Reuven had a good idea, but it flopped.

That's right Chaim. The great Torah scholar, Rabbi Baruch Halevi Epstein, (who is known to us as the Torah Temima) has a wonderful insight. He asks the following question, "Why did the Torah mention Reuven's plan if it failed?" He answers that it is fitting to praise someone who does a good deed. One should always praise good deeds and the people who perform them. Even in Reuven's case where the plan failed, the Torah praises him for his efforts.

Wow, if the Torah honors good deeds, I suppose we should too.

Right you are Chaim. That's why I started this good news campaign. Why should the news always be bad events? Let us do as the Torah does and publicize good things. Will you help me spread the good news?

I sure will sir.

Hey Avi, guess what? Did you hear the news?

Oh no Chaim, what happened now?

Avi, have I got a surprise for you . . .

Simcha's Quiz

Simon took a job working in a grocery store. For every day he worked, he was paid two dollars. For every day that he was absent, he lost three dollars from his wages. At the end of thirty days, his paycheck was zero. How many days did he work, and how many was he absent?

Write Simcha with the correct answer to

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Simcha's Torah Stories is © 1998 by Simcha Groffman All rights reserved to the author
Written by Simcha Groffman
Editor: Reuven Subar
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