Simcha's Torah Stories - Va'etchanan

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Parshas Va'etchanan


How did you do on the test, Avi?

I got an 80, Chaim.

That's good.

What did you get Chaim?


That's better than 80.

That's right, more is better.

A short time later . . .

Come, Steve, let's trade baseball cards. I have over 100 cards in my collection.

One hundred cards. That's nothing! I have 250 cards.

Wow, Steve. Your collection is better than mine. You have more cards.

That's right! More is better!

A short time later . . .

What flavor ice cream did you get Freddie?

Chocolate. What did you get Max?

I got two dips. Mocha and vanilla.

Two dips! You got more ice cream than I did. Your cone is better than mine.

That's right, more is better.

A short time later Avi is walking along thinking to himself . . .

More is better. More is better. More is better. I have been hearing that expression quite a bit. The more you have of something, the better off you are. Hmmm. I have an idea.

Avi arrives home.

Dad! I'm home!

Avi! Great to see you! How was your day?

Great, Dad! I really learned a lot today.

What did you learn Avi?

One of the things I learned is that "more is better". The more you have of something, the better off you are. I have a brainstorm.

Great! Let's hear it!

How many tzitzis (corner fringes) are on your tallis?


Let's add a fifth one. After all, more is better.


I have another idea Dad.

Yes, Avi.

Next Succos, instead of waving four types of plants - esrog (citron), lulav (palm), hadassim (myrtle), and arovos (willow), let's add a fifth type. After all, more is better.


Avi, what you are saying is not exactly true.

What do you mean Dad?

It may be true that more is better when it comes to test scores and baseball card collections, but mitzvos are different. The Torah gives us precise instructions how to perform a mitzvah; exactly how much of each component to use.

How do you know that Dad?

It is in this week's parsha, Avi. Moshe Rabbeinu, our teacher Moses is speaking to the Jewish people just before they are about to enter the Land of Israel after their forty years in the desert. He tells them (Devarim 4:2), "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor shall you subtract from it . . ." Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, who is known to us as Rashi explains that we are cautioned against doing exactly what you suggested, Avi, having five tzitzis instead of four, or adding a fifth plant to the lulav group. So you see, when it comes to mitzvos, more is not necessarily better. Mitzvos are a precise science. The instructions must be followed very carefully.

It's like driving a car, Dad. You can't drive too fast or too slow.

Exactly, Avi.

Or like eating dinner. If you eat to little, you won't have enough energy. And if you eat too much, you will be sick.

You've really got the hang of it.

I'm learning exactly how to understand the exactness of a mitzvah.


Simcha's Quiz

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?

Write Simcha with the correct answer to

Answer to Last Week's Question

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?

The Answer!

The old man temporarily added his camel to the 17, making a total of 18 camels.

1/2 = 9
1/3 = 6
1/9 = 2

for a total of 17. He then takes his camel back and rides away.

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