Simcha's Torah Stories - Ki Savo

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Parshas Ki Savo


Hi Avi, where are you going?

I'm on my way to the computer store Chaim. Do you want to come?

Sure! What are you going to do there?

I'm going to buy a new hard drive for my computer.

What's the matter with your old one? Is it getting soft?

Don't be silly, Chaim. Hard drives don't get soft; they just get filled up.

Is your filled up already? I remember when you bought it, just a few months ago.

That's right, Chaim. However, the computer programs and files that I am storing on my hard drive are getting bigger and bigger all of the time. They take up more and more space. Now, I have no space left and I need a new, bigger hard drive. This old one just cannot hold any more information.

Wow! I just thought of a great idea, Avi. Let's invent a hard drive that gets bigger as you put more and more information on it. You will never have to buy a new hard drive. The old one will just keep expanding and expanding.

Chaim that's a great idea, but we all know that it is impossible. It is against the laws of physics. The more you fill something up, the less space you have left.

I guess you're right, Avi. It was a good thought.

But wait Chaim, there is something that gets bigger the more you fill it.

You just said it was impossible.

That's true, but I was only thinking about man-made containers. Ours are always limited in size. However, when G-d makes a container, He does a much better job than we do.

What are you talking about Avi?

This week's Torah portion, Chaim. The verse begins, "If you will listen to the voice of G-d . . ." The word "listen" is repeated twice.

Why would the Torah repeat a word twice? We know that the Torah does not waste even one single word.

The Torah is teaching us something. Our sages of the Talmud explain that the word "listen" is referring to listening to words of Torah and learning them. The word "listen" is repeated twice to teach us that the more you listen, the more you are able to listen. The more you learn, the more you are able to learn. There is no way to "fill up" your brain cells. You can never "use up" all of your memory. Quite the opposite. The more you use your brain, the better it works. The more you exercise your memory, the more you are able to remember.

You know, Avi, we are all amazed when we see the intricate workings of a computer. But it is nothing but a simple toy compared to the human brain.

Exactly my point, Chaim. Let's make a simple calculation. How many pages are contained in all of the volumes of the Talmud? About 2700. Each page is very big with very small print - hundreds of words on each one. Each line is packed with many different ideas and pieces of information. These ideas are all inter-related in very complicated patterns and relationships. There must be millions of ideas and relationships in the volumes and volumes of Talmud.

Very true, Avi.

The pre-eminent sage of our time, Rabbi Moses Feinstein, of blessed memory, learned the entire Talmud at least 202 times. He committed it to memory. He also knew the ten-volume code of Torah Law known as the Shulchan Aruch. Can you imagine how much he knew? Yet, his memory kept expanding to learn more and more Torah. The "hard drive" that G-d put into our heads is better than any one we can buy in the computer store. However, there is one condition. We have to use it. It only grows if we use it.

Avi, I hope you don't mind if I don't walk you home from the computer store. I want to be on time for my learning session. I have lots and lots of Torah to learn. I still have trillions and trillions of megabytes left on my drive.

Simcha's Quiz

You bought a ten-gallon hat as a souvenir of a visit to Texas. When you got home, you discovered that the label states it to be only a six-gallon hat. By now, you were skeptical that it was even that big, and you decided to test it by trying to fill it with six gallons of water. The only containers you had on hand were those below. Using them, how were you able to pour six gallons into the hat?

Container A: 9 gallons.
Container B: 4 gallons.

Answer to Last Week's Question

Answer to last week's quiz question:

A census taker approaches a house and asks the woman who answers the door, "How many children do you have, and what are their ages?"

The woman says, "I have three children, the product of their ages are 36, the sum of their ages are equal to the address of the house next door."

The census taker walks next door, comes back and says, "I need more information."

The woman replies, "I have to go, my oldest child is sleeping upstairs."

Census taker: "Thank you, I have everything I need."

Question: What are the ages of each of the three children?

The Answer!

The census taker could not figure out the children's ages. Although he knew the number on the house next door, there were still two possibilities. The only way that the product could be 36 and still leave two possibilities is if the sum equals 13. These possibilities being 9+2+2 and 6+6+1. When the home owner stated that her "Oldest" child is sleeping she was giving the census taker the fact that there is an "oldest." The children's ages are 9,2, and 2.

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