Simcha's Torah Stories - Mishpatim
TURN IT AROUND
Hi, Avi! How are you?
Fine, Chaim, thank G-d. How are you?
The same, thank G-d. Do you want to join us for a game of basketball?
Hi, Josh! How are you?
Great, guys! What's doing?
We're on our way to play basketball. Do you want to come?
I can't right now. Thanks for asking. Have a good time.
On the way home from the basketball game . . .
Look, Avi, isn't that Josh?
Sure is. And I think that's Aaron with him. They're both walking behind Rabbi Finkel. What are they doing?
It look's like they are both carrying a heavy load of books for Rabbi Finkel. Come, let's go help them out.
You go help Josh, and I'll help Aaron. I'd rather not help Josh.
Why not, Avi?
Do you want to know the truth, Chaim?
I was really happy when Josh didn't want to play with us today. The last few times we played basketball together, he was always banging into me and stepping on my feet. It really bothers me. Can't he be more careful? He didn't even apologize. I'd rather not help him carry the books. I would rather help Aaron, my friend.
Avi, do you know that the Torah says to do exactly the opposite?
It can't be.
It's right in this week's Parsha, Mishpatim.
Really? What does it say, Chaim?
When you see two people who need help, one is your friend and one is someone whom you feel badly towards, you should go help the one you're not friendly with first.
But I want to help my friend. I like him. I don't like the other guy.
That's exactly the point, Avi. We have a mitzvah in the Torah to love all of our brethren. That includes even those who treat us not so nicely. The Torah is teaching us how to turn around your bad feelings toward that person. If you help him, if you give to him, you will come to like him.
How does that work?
The more you give to him, the more you feel for him. You identify more closely with him because you have put effort into him.
Kind of like a project.
In a way, but much more. The biggest proof is our parents. They love us so much because they have put so much effort into raising us.
I see the point, Chaim. I guess the hardest part is to get started.
It's like jumping into the pool, Avi. Just hold your breath and take the plunge.
Okay, here goes. Hey Josh, can I help you with those heavy books?
Why that is so nice of you Avi. I guess I took too many books. You know Avi, I have been meaning to tell you what a good basketball player you are. You are so graceful, you never bump into anybody or step on their feet. I wish I could play like you.
Maybe I can help you play better, Josh. Together we can turn it around.
One train leaves from NYC heading towards LA at 100 mph. Three hours later, a train leaves from LA heading towards NYC at 200 MPH. Assume there are exactly 2000 miles between LA and NYC. When they meet, which train is closer to NYC?
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