Simcha's Torah Stories - Vayishlach

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Parshas Vayishlach



What was that, Avi?

I don't know Chaim. It went by so fast, I didn't get a good look at it. Here it comes again.


Wow! Look at that new bicycle. It's really fancy. And really, really fast. Who's that riding it?

That's Shimon, who lives up the street.

Shimi! Let's see your new bike.

Hi guys! Boy am I out of breath. I'm not used to riding so fast. How do you like my new bike? It's the latest model. I got it for my birthday.

Wow, Shim! It looks great. Use it in good health, and be careful. The faster you go, the more you have to watch out. Can I try it?

Sure Avi. Don't run over any curbs.

After a short ride, Avi returns with Shimon's new bike.

Shim, thanks so much for the ride. That was great. I sure wish I had a bike like that. Enjoy it Shim, and Happy Birthday.

Shimon rides off and Avi and Chaim continue walking together.

What do you say about that new bike, Chaim? Don't you wish you had one just like that?

Avi, if I'm supposed to have a bike like that, I'm sure I'll get one. If I don't, then it's not the right bike for me.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean, Chaim. That bike would be great for anybody.

Maybe not, Avi. Someone who could not ride well might really hurt himself on such a bike. Let me tell you a story that my teacher told us yesterday. One of our great Rabbis, Rav Eliyahu Lopian, tells a story to show how we have everything that we need. A certain man once bragged to his friend about the expensive merchandise that he owned. "What sort of merchandise is it?" the friend asked. The man led him to a cabinet full of expensive medicines. He explained that the doctor had told him to take these medicines. They were very expensive, and very rare, imported from all over the world. The entire time that the owner was bragging about his medicine collection, his friend was thinking, "How fortunate am I that I don't need all of this." Although people are naturally jealous of others' possessions, no one would be jealous of having all of these medicines.

Rav Lopian quotes the verse that we say in the blessings after the meal, "Those who seek G-d are lacking no good." It does not say that those who seek G-d have all of the good things in the world. No one can possibly own all of the good things in the world. They are lacking no good. What they do not have they are not lacking. They have everything they need.

Chaim, that reminds me of the meeting between Yaakov Avinu, our father Jacob, and his brother Esav. We read about it in this week's Torah portion. When they greeted each other after many years of separation, each described his accomplishments.

What did they say to each other, Avi?

Esav said, "I have a lot." Rashi explains, "Much more than I need." Although his needs were filled, he kept acquiring more and more. His desires were never satisfied. Yaakov, on the other hand said, "I have everything." How is it possible to own everything? It is not possible. He had everything that he needed. What he did not need, he did not have. He knew that if G-d wanted him to have something, He would have given it to him.

So we both realize, Chaim, that if we are supposed to have a fancy bike like Shimon's then we will get one. And if we don't, then it's just not the right bike for us.

Avi, with an outlook like that, you will be pedaling very happily through life.

Simcha's Quiz

Nachum once bought a bicycle from a man who was as dishonest as Lavan, the father-in-law of Yaakov Avinu. When he asked how much the bike costs, the man told him, "Not very much. Just pay me one penny today, two pennies tomorrow, four cents the next day, and eight cents the day after, for twenty days."

How much did Nachum end up paying for the bicycle after twenty days?

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