Simcha's Torah Stories - Miketz

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Parshat Miketz


Hi, Avi, how was school today?

I am so upset, Dad.


The teacher changed a few seats around in class. I am sitting next to a boy who likes to talk during class. I am afraid that he will ruin my whole behavior.

That's understandable. Did you speak to the teacher about it?

I did. He said that the boy must sit next to someone. He picked me because my behavior is so good that he thinks that I can have an influence on the boy.

Wow! That must have made you feel great, Avi.

Yes and no. I am happy that he thinks so highly of me, but worried that the boy will influence me more than I will influence him.

Avi let me speak with the teacher, and then we will talk about what he said.

Sure, Dad.

Avi's father calls up the teacher and speaks for quite a long time. At the end of the conversation, he calls Avi into the room.

Avi, I want to tell you what the teacher said, but first I would like to tell you a story.

Great, Dad.

One time, when I was a little older than you, I was looking for a study partner to learn Gemara. I was fortunate enough to make an arrangement with the best boy in the class. I came home from school that day flying. I was so happy. I was looking forward to a great year of learning Gemara with that boy. The next day I got to school and I sat down next to him, ready to learn. He said that he was sorry but he had to make a change of plans. A family member had just arrived from out of town and he had to learn with that boy. Family obligations came first. I understood completely. I know the importance of family. Since it was only the first day of school, it would be easy for me to find someone else to learn with. But I could not help feeling disappointed. I felt that things were not working out for the best.

What happened Dad? Did you find another study partner?

I surely did. He was not as brilliant as the first boy was, but he was a real plugger. He had a great influence on me in two ways. First, he taught me to be a plugger. Secondly, I had to do most of the explaining when we learned together. This taught me how to explain things very clearly, which helped my learning tremendously.

What you're trying to tell me Dad is that it looked bad in the beginning, but it turned out good in the end.

Exactly, Avi. Can you think of an example from the Torah of something like this?

Can you give me a hint, Dad?

It is in this week's Torah portion.

Hmmm. I know! Yosef HaTzaddik!

Right! What happened?

His brothers sold him as a slave to a band of travelers. They thought that he would just be a lowly slave the rest of his life and they would never see him again. Imagine their astonishment when they met up with him again, over twenty years later. He was not the lowly slave that they sold, but none other than the second in command of all of Egypt, the most powerful country in the world! He forgave them for what they did and explained that it was part of G-d's plan that he ended up there. He was now able to feed them and the whole world during the years of famine.

I see that you know the story really well, Avi.

It really proves your point, Dad. We may think that something is bad, but in the end, it turns out to be the best thing for us.

Exactly, Avi. Your teacher explained to me that he has real confidence in you. He feels that of all of the boys in the class, you are the most able to have an influence on this boy. This is a real opportunity for you, Avi.

You are so right Dad. I am going to turn around my way of thinking from negative to positive.

Avi, if you keep up the good work, you are going to turn around the situation. You can even turn around this boy's life.

You had your turn around when you were younger, Dad. Now it's my turn to turn it around.

Simcha's Quiz

What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in an hour?

Answer to Last Week's Question


Three salesmen went into a hotel to rent a room. The manager stated that he had only one room left, but all three could use it for $30.00 for the night. The three salesmen gave him $10.00 each and went up to their room. Later, the manager decided that he had charged the salesmen too much so he called the bellhop over, gave him five one-dollar bills, and said: 'Take this $5.00 up to the salesmen

and tell them I had charged them too much for the room'. On the way up, the bellhop knew that he could not divide the five one-dollar bills equally so he puts

two of the one-dollar bills in his pocket and returned one one-dollar bill to each of the salesmen. This means that each salesman paid $9.00 for the room.

The bellhop kept $2.00. Three times nine is 27 plus two is 29.......

The Question: What happened to the extra dollar?

The Answer!

The calculation just makes no sense. The three salesman paid $27, of which the manager got $25 and the bellhop $2.

Conclusion: There's no dollar missing at all.

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