Simcha's Torah Stories - Vayeshev

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Parshat Vayeshev


One day at the office of the top executive of a big movie studio . . .

Jones, bring me the ticket sales report.

Here it is R. J.

This is terrible. Our ticket sales are way down. What is the reason for this?

Everyone is going to see the new blockbuster adventure movie put out by the other studio. It is the biggest box seller in history.

Rats! We need a movie like that! Do we have any new scripts to look at?

A few arrived in the mail today.

Please bring them to me. Let's open them and have a look.

The two men open the mail and begin reading the scripts.

Listen to this R. J. This one sounds very interesting. It is a real adventure story.

Go ahead and read it to me Jones.

The first scene opens as the father of a large family presents one of his sons with a special gift. The young son is happy to receive a special unique coat, presented just to him, and not his brothers. The brothers are upset. This coat is just another act of favoritism toward the young son. They hope to take revenge some day for the unfair treatment.

Scene two begins with the ten brothers tending their sheep in the pastures. Their young brother approaches, wearing his special coat.

"Now is our chance to get even. Let's kill him."

"We can't kill our own brother. Let's throw him into a pit. Someone or something else will take care of him."

With that, the brothers rip off his coat and throw him, into the pit. The pit is full of snakes and scorpions, but miraculously, they do not bite the young man. The brothers sit down to eat.

"Look, what is that off in the distance? It looks like a caravan of bedouins. Why should we leave our brother in the pit to die? Let us sell him as a slave to the bedouins."

The brothers return to the pit, but their young brother is already gone. He was drawn out of the pit by some traders and sold as a slave to the bedouins.

I like it Jones. Sounds good. Those miraculous snakes and scorpions are a little far-fetched, but the script has potential. Keep reading.

Scene three: The bedouins arrive in Egypt, with their young slave. They sell him to one of the officers of Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. The officer brings him home to be a servant in his house. Something incredible begins to happen. This lowly slave begins to show great expertise in running the home of the King's officer. His master gives him more and more responsibility, and sees more and more profit and success in the doings of his household. The officer soon put the slave in charge of his whole household. The slave's brilliant management made the officer a very wealthy man.

Jones, this story is almost a fantasy. How can a young slave become a brilliant business manager overnight? Still, the plot is fast-paced. Let's keep going.

Scene four: The officer's wife casts her eyes on the young slave and makes demands of him. He refuses. How can he betray his master who trusts him with the whole household? The wife becomes angry and reports to her husband that the slave has betrayed him. With that, the master throws the slave into prison.

I guess our hero slave is finished Jones. Nobody ever escapes from prison, let alone a slave.

This is getting exciting R. J.

You're right Jones. Read on.

Scene five: The prison warden notices that the young slave has special talents. He puts him in charge of some of the inmates. The young slave is successful, just as he was in the home of the officer. Before long, the warden hands the whole operation of the prison over to the young slave.

This slave is a real phenomenon R. J. Can you imagine how he would do on Wall Street?

Keep reading, Jones.

Scene six: The king throws two of his officers into prison for neglecting their duties. There in prison, they meet the young slave. They each have a strange dream on the same night. That morning they discuss the dreams with the young slave. He interprets their dreams and foretells that one officer will be executed and one will return to his post. "Please remember me," he says to the officer who will return.

Come on Jones, what king puts an officer in prison and then takes him out a few days later? Is this a joke? Prison is serious business.

Do you want me to stop reading R. J.?

No, of course not. This can be the blockbuster that we need.

Scene seven: Two years later, Pharaoh, the King of Egypt has a very strange dream which no one can make sense of. Only then does the officer remember the young slave in the prison. "Your Majesty, there was a slave in the prison who interpreted my dream, and it came true just as he said." "Bring him to me," commanded the King. The young slave shaved, changed his clothes and was then brought before the King. "Your Majesty's dream foretells seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine in the land of Egypt. Let Your Majesty appoint an officer to gather grain during the years of plenty. Then Your Majesty will have food supplies during the famine years." Then King then does an unbelievable thing. He appoints the lowly slave to the position of second in command of all of Egypt. He and only he will be in charge of gathering all of the grain during the years of plenty, and selling it during the famine.

Jones, this is not an adventurer story. This is a fantasy. No one would ever believe this. A slave becoming second-in-command to the King? Impossible. Who is the author of this story? Get him on the telephone. Tell him that the plot is basically good, but a few changes must be made to make it a little more believable.

R. J., you had better sit down. We will not be able to contact the author or change the plot.

WHAT !!! Who is he? What is his price? Everybody has his price.

R. J. this story is from the Bible. It is the story of Joseph. The author is G-d, and the story is true.

R. J. sits down and takes a few deep breaths. He thinks for a few minutes and begins to speak.

Jones, I had a suspicion that this was too good to be true. The truth is always stranger than fiction. Come, let's read the original story in the Bible. That will put everything back into proportion. None of our petty screenplays and films can match the blockbuster world that G-d has created.

Simcha's Quiz

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?

Answer to Last Week's Question


A man decides to buy a nice horse. He pays $60 for it, and he is very content with this strong animal. After a year, the value of the horse has increased to $70 and he decides to sell the horse. A few days later he regrets his decision to sell the beautiful horse, and he buys it again. Unfortunately he has to pay $80 to get it back, so he loses $10. After another year of owning the horse, he finally decides to sell the horse for $90.

What is the overall profit the man makes?

The Answer!

Consider the trade-story as if it describes two separate trades, where: In the first trade, the man buys something for $60 and sells it again for $70, so he makes a profit of $10. In the second trade, the man buys something for $80 and sells it again for $90, so he makes again a profit of $10.

Conclusion: The man makes an overall profit of $10 + $10 = $20.

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