Simcha's Torah Stories - Pikudei

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Simcha's Torah Stories

Parshat Pikudei

ABOVE SUSPICION

Hi Avi, what are you doing?

I'm working for Mr. Levy, helping him, stuff envelopes.

It looks like precise work.

It is, Chaim. Each package contains one letter, one calendar, and one return envelope. The name on the letter must match the address on the outside of the package. Then I must put a stamp on each one.

Did you say this is a job, Avi?

Yes, when I finish, Mr. Levy will pay me for the number of hours that I worked.

That sounds great, Avi. Mr. Levy is a smart man. He has hired a great worker. He can rely on you to do the work without his being here to supervise you. He also trusts you to give a correct accounting of the number of hours that you worked.

To tell you the truth, Chaim, he did not even ask for the number of hours. He just wants to know the amount of money that I earned.

Wow. He really trusts you Avi. Even so, I think that you should still report the number of hours to him.

Why Chaim? He trusts me.

I'll tell you Avi. We learned something in this week's parsha about trustworthiness. Would you like me to share it with you?

Sure, Chaim.

Was there anyone more trustworthy than Moshe Rabbeinu, our teacher Moses?

I guess not.

You don't have to guess, Avi. The Torah writes in Bamidbar 12:7 that Moshe Rabbeinu was G-d's trusted one.

Well, Chaim, if G-d trusted him, then he must have been pretty reliable.

Right. Do you know the beginning of this week's Torah portion, Parshas Pikude?

Sure, Chaim. We just learned that today. Moshe Rabbeinu gave an accounting of all of the materials that he collected from the Children of Israel for the building of the Tabernacle.

Think about that Avi. Moshe Rabbeinu gave an accounting. Do you think anyone suspected him of stealing anything? Moshe Rabbeinu was so honest that G-d trusted him. Why did he have to give an accounting?

You're right, Chaim. That does sound a little strange.

The Medrash answers this question, Avi, by explaining the following. Just as a person has to work at being honest and trusted by G-d, so too he must prove his trustworthiness to his fellow man. G-d knows everything, and G-d trusted Moshe Rabbeinu. Therefore he was surely honest. Still, he had to give an accounting to his fellow Jews in order to be above suspicion.

Wow Chaim. It must be really important to be above suspicion.

It sure is Avi.

Well, I am going to report my hours and work in exact detail to Mr. Levy. Even though he trusts me, I am going to be like Moshe Rabbeinu. I am going to place myself above suspicion.

Avi, I would never suspect you of doing anything less.


Simcha's Talmudic Quiz

HIDDEN IN THE FIRE

"Look at that thick black smoke."

"Something is burning there at Mr. Wallace's farm. Look it's his haystack."

"Wait a minute. A burning haystack doesn't put out thick black smoke like that. Let's go a little closer to see what is happening."

As the boys approach, they see two men arguing.

"You'll pay for this. I had ten radial tires hidden in that haystack. They are worth almost a thousand dollars."

"You had no business hiding tires in a haystack. I will happily pay for your haystack. After all, I was negligent by letting it catch on fire. But I can't be responsible for your radial tires. You should have stored them in a more protected place."

The question is, does the man who burned the haystack pay for the radial tires?

(This puzzle is from Tractate Bava Kamma, page 61b).


ANSWER TO LAST WEEK'S PUZZLE

WATCH YOUR STEP

"It's your fault!"

"No it is not. You should have been more careful."

"What's going on here? What are you two arguing about?"

"Do you see this box of broken pottery? He has to pay for it."

"Why?"

"We were walking along, he was first and I was behind him. Suddenly, he tripped and fell down. I tripped over him and fell. I dropped this box of pottery that I was holding and everything broke. Now he must pay for it. If he hadn't fallen first, I would not have tripped over him."

"You are responsible for your own falling. You should have watched where you were going. I don't have to pay for anything."

The question is who pays for the broken pottery and why.

(This puzzle is from Tractate Bava Kamma, page 31a).

The Answer is:

The Mishna itself rules that the first man who fell must pay for the damages to the second man who tripped over him. The question is why?

  1. Rebbe Meir holds the first man responsible for tripping and falling. People have a responsibility to not fall when they are walking.

  2. Rebbe Yochanan says that even if the first man is not held responsible for falling, he is held responsible for not getting up out of the way in time. He waited too long on the ground.

  3. Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchak says that even if he did not have enough time to get up, he should have warned the second man that he had fallen. Rebbe Yochanan's response to that is that if he did not have enough time to get up, he could not have warned the second man because he was too busy recovering from the fall.

The Mechaber in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 413:1 rules like Rebbe Yochanan, that if the first man did have the time to get up, and he did not, then he is responsible. If he did not have the time to get up, then he is not responsible for warning the man behind him.

The Rema writes that some say that he is responsible for warning if he had the time to warn.

However, both the Mechaber and the Rema agree that all of this only applies to bodily damages. We learn from a verse in the Torah that damages of this sort on the property of the second man are exempt from payment.


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