Simcha's Torah Stories - Sh'lach
LADDERS TO HEAVEN
Mom, I'm home.
Chaim it's so good to see your smiling face. How was school?
Come, have some lunch now.
Thanks, Mom. I hope you don't mind but I have to eat quickly because I have a lot of studying to do.
Do you have a test tomorrow Chaim?
Yes I do, Mom. It covers a lot of material so I have to study very hard.
Chaim, you give me so much nachas. You are such a dedicated student. I am very proud of you.
Thanks Mom. I have to go now.
With that, Chaim hurries to his room to begin studying.
One hour later, his mother softly knocks on the door.
Chaim, may I come in?
I brought you some cookies and milk. How is your studying going?
No so good Mom. There is so much to learn. How will I ever have the time to finish?
Don't get discouraged Chaim. Rabbi Yisrael Salanater was the great Rav who founded the mussar movement. It stresses working on perfecting ones self. He used to say that there is no sickness worse than despair.
I am feeling discouraged Mom. Can you help me?
Let me tell you a story about another time in history when the entire Jewish people were feeling discouraged. It was the time of the Meraglim (spies).
I know that story, Mom. The Jewish people were about to enter the Land of Israel. They sent spies to check out the land first.
Very good Chaim! What did the spies find?
Ten of them brought back a bad report about the land. It would be too difficult to conquer.
Excellent, Chaim. The people became very discouraged when they heard this. Two spies Calev and Yehoshua, saw the good in the land. Calev tried to encourage the people. "Go up and up and inherit the land because you are surely able to." Rashi comments that he was telling them that they would be able to build ladders and go up to heaven, if need be. Success was theirs.
Really Mom? Ladders to heaven? Ladders do not reach to heaven. If they were able to reach heaven, it would be a miracle. If G-d performed a miracle for them, they would not need ladders.
Chaim, you are really on the ball today. You have asked the same question that the great Torah leader, Rav Moshe Feinstein, asked.
What's the answer?
The Torah is teaching us that we must show G-d how much we want something. Of course, it is impossible to climb up a ladder to heaven. But that does not mean that we do not have to try. G-d can make the impossible happen. He can work miracles. But he will only do that for us if we show Him how much we want the miracle to happen.
How do we show Him?
By trying our hardest. Rav Moshe Feinstein writes about Torah learning as an example. Hashem gave us a whole big Torah to learn. How can we ever hope to know it all?
That is how I feel about my test, Mom.
Rav Moshe is speaking to you, Avi. Show Him how much you want to learn and know the Torah. He will then give you a nice big present.
Yes. You will learn and know much more Torah then you ever thought possible. All you have to do is try. Some of our greatest Rabbis were not the smartest boys in the class. But they were the hardest workers.
Mom, you have really helped my. I'm not giving up. I'm going to try my hardest and study me best for this test.
Avi, your ladders are already reaching up to heaven.
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