Simcha's Torah Stories - Eikev
IT TAKES ONE
I have so much to do. How will I ever manage?
How are you Avi?
I'm feeling swamped Chaim.
I have so much to do. I don't know how I will ever manage.
Come, Avi. Let me help you. Let's make a list and tackle your projects one by one.
List? List? I already have a list. It hasn't helped me.
Let me see you list, Avi. Maybe I can help you.
Look in the Torah and you will see my list Chaim.
What are you talking about Avi?
My list is the list of mitzvos in the Torah. 613 mitzvos. So many mitzvos. So much to do. How will I ever manage to do them all?
You are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of mitzvos in the Torah, Avi.
That's right, Chaim.
Hmmm. Let me think about this a minute. I think there is a verse in this week's Torah portion that will be very encouraging to you.
Please tell me. What is it?
Chapter eight, verse one. "All the mitzvah which I command you (singular) today, guard it in order to perform it . . ."
Aren't you making a mistake in grammar, Chaim? The verse should read, "All the mitzvos which I command to you (plural) . . ."
Very perceptive of you, Avi. Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Ben Ahron, one of the classical Bible commentators, who is known to us as the "Keli Yakar", asks the same question. Why does the verse use the word mitzvah in the singular instead of the plural form? Why does the verse also use the word "you" in the singular instead of the plural form? After all, Moses was speaking to the entire Jewish nation.
Wow. I feel better already, Chaim. I asked the same question that the "Keli Yakar" asked. That means that I have my thinking cap on.
His answer will make you feel even better, Avi. He explains that the word "you" is written in the singular to teach us that one person can change the entire world.
If he is making mistakes in his mitzvah observance, he need only correct those mistakes. That will exert a powerful enough influence to change the whole world.
Wow. What about the other part of the verse.
The word "mitzvah" is written in the singular to teach us that if a person does just one mitzvah properly, he will merit eternal life.
I never realized that Chaim.
You are right, Avi. There are many mitzvos to perform. Sometimes it can seem like an impossible task. We have to take them one at a time. However, just think about the words of the "Keli Yakar". One person can change the whole world. One mitzvah can change your whole life. It only takes one.
Chaim, thank you so much. I don't feel overwhelmed anymore. I just have to keep repeating it to myself.
Repeating what, Avi?
It only takes one.
You are ill and travelling down a road to the hospital. You reach a fork in the road and find a pair of identical twin boys standing there. One of the twins always tells the truth and the other twin always lies. You are allowed to direct only one question to one of the twins, and as such, you will be assured of the correct road to the hospital. What is your question and to whom?
Answer to Last Week's Question
In your cellar, there are three light switches in the OFF position. Each switch controls one of three light bulbs on floor above. You may move any of the switches but you may only go upstairs to inspect the bulbs one time. How can you determine the switch for each bulb with one inspection?
Turn switch 1 on for a while . . . about 5 minutes or more . . . then turn it off.
Turn switch 2 on. Go inspect the bulbs.
The hot bulb is controlled by switch 1.
The lit bulb is controlled by switch 2.
The unlit and cold bulb is controlled by switch 3.
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