Simcha's Torah Stories - Shoftim

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Parshas Shoftim


Our friend Avi is sitting in the classroom, taking a science test, thinking to himself . . .

Boy, this test sure is hard. I thought that I studied well, but some things I don't remember and others I just don't understand.

He reads the next two questions on the test.

"How far away is the moon from the earth?"

"How often does the moon circle the earth?"

I remember studying that but I just can't remember the answers. Oy vey. I studied so much and I'm not going to do well on this test. I'll be so embarrassed. Mom and Dad will be upset with me. What am I going to do?

Suddenly, Avi comes up with an idea.

I know what I'll do. In my pocket are the index cards with my study notes written on them. I will ask the teacher to be excused for a minute. When I am outside the classroom, I can take the cards out of my pocket and find the answers! No one will ever know.

"Excuse me, Mr. Warfield, may I please be excused?"

"Of course, Avi."

Once outside, Avi takes the cards out of his pocket. Much to his surprise, he finds his notes from "Parshat Hashavua" class instead of science class. He reads the first card.

"Tzedek tzedek tirdof," You shall pursue righteousness (Devarim 16:20). The Torah commands us to be just and fair in all of our deeds.

Avi reads the words over and over again. "The Torah commands us to be just and fair in all of our deeds. Just and fair in all of our deeds." He thinks to himself . . .

What is unfair about looking at my notes? After all, I did study the material. I just can't remember a couple of answers. Do I have to suffer a bad grade just for that? And whom am I hurting. No one will suffer if I get a good grade. My parents will be very happy and proud of me. What's wrong with looking at my notes?

Avi is about to look at his science notes. He stops a moment and continues thinking . . .

Looking at notes is against the rules. The teachers had good reasons for making the rules. Some of the reasons we understand. If we were allowed to look at notes, no one would study. Then no one would learn anything. But I already studied and learned, so why can't I look at the notes? Because it is against the rules. If I break the rules, I will corrupt the system. Worse than that, I will corrupt myself. It was no accident that I pulled out the index card with "Parshat Hashavua" written on it. "Tzedek tzedek tirdof." We must be righteous and just in all of our deeds.

Avi returns to the test without looking at his notes.

I guess I'll answer the questions that I know and the others leave blank. Wait a minute! I just remembered something! The moon is 240,000 miles from the earth! The moon circles the earth once every 29 1/2 days. Thank G-d!

Avi happily thinks to himself . . .

I've learned a big lesson from all of this. I must always do the right thing. No matter how easy and harmless it seems to break the rules. Breaking the rules is wrong to do. And we have to do . . .


Simcha's Quiz

If some coffee is "97 percent caffeine-free," how many cups of it would one have to drink to get the amount of caffeine in a cup of regular coffee?

Answer to Last Week's Question

A bank customer had $100 in his account. He then made six withdrawals, totaling $100. He kept a record of these withdrawals, and the balance remaining in the account, as follows:


Balance left

$50 $50
25 25
10 15
8 7
5 2
2 0
$100 $99

When he added up the columns as above, he assumed that he must owe $1 to the bank. Was he right?

The Answer!

There is no reason whatsoever why the customer's original deposit of $100 should equal the total of the balances left after each withdrawal. The total of withdrawals in the left-hand column must always equal $100, but it is pure coincidence that the total of the right-hand column is close to $100.

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