Simcha's Torah Stories - Chayei Sarah
Parshat Chayei Sarah
SAY A LITTLE, DO A LOT
Look at that, George. There must be twenty boxes piled up over there on the sidewalk.
Letís see whatís doing.
Excuse me sir, why are all of these boxes piled up here on the sidewalk?
Iím sorry if it is causing anyone inconvenience. I run an organization which provides food for needy families for the Sabbath. I just received my weekly delivery of meat, fish, vegetables, wine, challah bread, and cake. I must get them into the storage room, them divide them up into packages for each family. Then I will distribute the packages to the families.
That sounds like a lot of work. You wait right here. Iím going to send over some workers to help you. They will move the boxes for you, open them and divide up the contents, wrap them up into packages and even deliver the packages to the needy families. Iíll send you five good strong workers and this job will be done in no time.
Do I owe you any money for this?
Money? Iím giving this to you.
Just wait here and the workers will be here in five minutes.
Them man waits and waits. After half an hour the workers still have not shown up.
Just then four boys from the Yeshiva walk by on their way home.
Shalom, Rabbi Cohen.
Hello boys, how are you?
Fine. What are all of those boxes Rabbi?
This is food for needy families for Shabbos.
Without saying anything, each boy picks up a box.
Where shall we put these boxes, Rabbi Cohen?
Thatís so kind of you boys. Put them in here.
But Rabbi, you canít leave them here. There are perishables in these boxes.
Donít worry about it boys, Iíll take care of it.
Rabbi Cohen, we insist. Please tell us what to do.
With that, Rabbi Cohen instructs them how to open the boxes, divide the contents and wrap them up into packages for each of the families.
Weíre all finished Rabbi Cohen. Here are the thirty packages.
Boys, thank you so much. I donít know where I would be without you.
We can deliver them on our way home from Yeshiva.
Please, boys. Youíve done enough already. I canít ask you to do any more.
So weíll do it without your asking, Rabbi Cohen. Please tell us the addresses.
Are you sure itís no trouble boys?
Weíre walking home anyway. We insist. Please Rabbi, let us finish the job.
Okay, boys, hereís the list.
Look, these two homes are on my street.
And those people live around the corner from me.
They live not far from here.
Within minutes, all of the packages are divided amongst the boys. They then set out on their way to deliver them.
Bye boys. I donít know how to thank you. Youíve really saved me hours of time and hard work.
You donít have to thank us, Rabbi Cohen. It was our pleasure.
Just at that moment, the workers sent by the two men arrive on the scene.
There is supposed to be a man with some boxes here who needs workers to help him. Do you know anything about it sir? We were sent here to do a job for this man. We were told that he would pay us well.
Iím sorry to disappoint you men. The work has already been done.
Rabbi Cohen chuckles and thinks to himself . . .
Things havenít changed much in the past 4000 years. The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (1:15) states, "Say little but do much." Rashi explains that Avraham Avinu said very little (Bereshis 18:5-8). He only told his guests that he was going to serve them bread. Then he returned with butter, milk, fine tender meat, and three huge portions of flour. Efron, on the other hand, made a big promise. He offered to give Avraham Avinu the Maaras HaMachpela (Cave of Machpela) as a burial ground for Sara for free. In the end, however, he demanded and received an exorbitant sum of money from Avraham Avinu for the land. Rashi comments (Bereshis 23:16) that Efron said a lot, and did not even do a little.
Those first men promised to take care of everything for free. In the end their workers showed up late, expecting to get paid. The Yeshiva boys, on the other hand, came and got right to work, saying hardly anything. Avraham Avinuís deeds made such a powerful impression on the Jewish people, that we are still emulating them 4000 years later. When he did something, he really "did a lot".
There are three boxes. One is labeled "APPLES" another is labeled "ORANGES". The last one is labeled "APPLES & ORANGES". You know that each is labeled incorrectly. You then pick one fruit from one box that you choose. Which box do you draw from and how can you label the boxes correctly?
Answer to Last Week's Question
A ship is at anchor. Over the side hangs a rope ladder with rungs a foot apart. The tide rises at a rate of 8 inches per hour. At the end of six hours, how much of the rope ladder will remain above water, assuming that 8 feet were above the water when the tide began to rise?
Since the ship is afloat, the water level in relation to the ship stays the same. Therefore, 8 feet are above water, just as the beginning!
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