Simcha's Torah Stories - Devarim
Oh. Hello Chaim. Shalom. How are you?
Fine. Did you hear me calling you?
I was so absorbed in the science fiction story that I am reading that I did not hear you.
Can I read it?
Sure, Chaim. Here it is.
One cold, clear winter evening in the observatory, high atop a mountain in northern Washington . . .
Come quickly, Dr. Benson. Look at this!
Dr. Benson rushes from the other end of the deserted laboratory to join his colleague, Dr. Rosen in front of the radio-telescope screen.
Do you see this on the screen?
Dr. Bensonís eyes open wide.
It looks like a message coming in.
Who could be transmitting this message?
We must investigate. Read me the coordinates of the radio telescope.
39į north, 147į east.
That cannot be.
The nearest star in that quadrant is 3500 light years away. That means that the message that we are receiving has been traveling at the speed of light for 3500 years.
Do you mean that the senders of this message began transmission 3500 long years ago? They must be all long gone by now. Nevertheless, their message is reaching us today.
Words slowly form and fill the screen. The two scientists are in awe of what they are seeing.
Dr. Benson, this will make international news headlines. A communication from the distant past. A message launched across 3500 years of history . . .
We return to our friends, Chaim and Avi . . .
Yes, Avi. Iím sorry. I was very absorbed in the story. A message from 3500 years ago. You know, Avi, the story has some truth to it.
Really Chaim? In what way?
Rav Chaim Ben Atar, the great Rav who lived about 250 years ago wrote a commentary on the Torah entitled "Ohr HaChaim". The first verse in the Book of Devarim states, "These are the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel." Moses gathered the Jewish people together in the desert, shortly before their entrance to the Land of Israel. It was there that he delivered his final message to the Jewish people before he passed on from this world. The "Ohr HaChaim" explains why the expression "all Israel" was used instead of just stating "Israel". Moses was not speaking only to those Jews present in the desert at that time. Rather he was addressing all of the Jews of all future generations. These words of Torah that he was about to convey to them were timeless. There are no other words in existence that can inspire and guide a people throughout history like the Torah. So you see, Avi, every time that we read and learn the Torah, we are receiving a message that began transmission 3500 years ago, and is still going strong today.
What a cosmic experience. If people realized this, they would be standing in lines from here to Cincinnati to read the message.
Avi, letís see what we can do to help people realize the timeless value of the Torah.
Iím with you, cosmic buddy. Letís blast off!
A rich old man had three sons. When he died, he willed his 17 camels to the sons, to be divided as follows: the first son gets half of the camels. The second son gets 1/3 of the camels. The third son gets 1/9 of the camels. The sons are sitting there trying to figure out how this can possibly be done, when a very old wise man goes riding by. They stop him and ask him to help them solve their problem. Without hesitation he divides the camels properly and continues riding on his way. How did he do it?
Answer to Last Week's Question
Infinity. Assume any distance for the trip. If you said 30 miles, then the first half took 1 hour. But to average 30 mph for the total trip would require an hour. Therefore the puzzle has no solution and it is impossible!
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