Simcha's Torah Stories - Yitro

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Simcha's Torah Stories

Parshat Yitro


Chaim, I have a question that has been bothering me for weeks now.

Please tell it to me. Maybe I can answer it Avi.

Okay, Chaim. Here goes. Let's say that you were in charge of organizing a big event.

How big Avi?

The biggest. Hundreds of thousands of people involved. An awesome, spectacular, once-in-history event.


That's right Chaim, wow. Now, here is my question. Where would you stage this event?

Let me think for a minute Avi. Hmmm. How about the Swiss Alps? That is some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.

That's good, Chaim. Do you have any other suggestions?

What about the Grand Canyon? That is also an awesome "wonder of the world". Or, if you prefer a more urban setting, how about one of the world's great cities like New York, Tokyo, or London.

Good, good. Keep going.

What about the lush tropical rainforest of Africa. The beauty there is unmatched anywhere in the world.

Chaim, you're not going to believe this. I also thought of many of the same places as you.

So what is your question, Avi?

Tell me Chaim, what was the most significant event in history.

Chaim thinks for a minute, then answers.

The giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. G-d revealed Himself to the entire Jewish people, over two million men, women, and children.

Exactly, Chaim. My question is this. If this was such an earth-shattering event, why did it take place in such a mundane place? Mt. Sinai is in the desert. A barren wilderness. And if that isn't enough, Mt. Sinai is not even a very big mountain. It is quite low and mundane. How is this an appropriate setting for such a monumental event?

Avi, your question is brilliant. Our great sages ask the very same question. To answer the question, close your eyes and try to imagine that you are among the two million people arriving in that desert in front of the mountain. What is the first thing that strikes you?

That there is nothing here in the desert.

Right. If you want to grow up to be a big Talmid Chochom you have to make yourself like that desert. Nothing but Torah for you. Now, are your eyes still closed Avi?


Good. What is the next thing that you notice?

That Mt. Sinai is a low mountain.

Excellent! Why did G-d choose a low mountain? To teach us that Torah can only come to humble people. We have to lower ourselves, like that mountain. We have to listen patiently to our teachers and chavrusas. We have to be ready to learn from everyone. As Ben Zoma teaches us in Pirkei Avos (4:1) Who is a wise man? A person who learns from all people.

That's really amazing Chaim.

So you see Avi, Mt. Sinai was the perfect place for the giving of the Torah. It taught the Jewish people what acquiring the Torah was all about.

Let us not forget the last thing that happened there, Chaim.

What was that Avi?

That the entire Jewish people was united as never before, "like one man with one heart". There had to be unity also to receive the Torah.

Avi, we should all strive to work on our humility, our Torah study, and our unity, so that we may all merit to receive the Torah in its entirety, just as they did on that day, 3200 years ago.


Simcha's Quiz

Mrs. Frumer asked the class to see if they could find the sum of the first 50 odd numbers. As everyone settled down to do their addition, Tamar ran to her and said, "The sum is 2,500." Mrs. Frumer thought, "lucky guess," and gave him the task of finding the sum of the first 75 odd numbers. Within 20 seconds, Tamar was back with the correct answer of 5,625.

How does Tamar find the sum so quickly?

Answer to Last Week's Question

Shmuel was one when Yaakov was born. When Shmuel was eight, he was twice as old as his little sister Shoshie. Leah was born when Shoshie was two years old. Now Shoshie is 2/3 the age of Shmuel, and Leah is 3 times as old as Sara.

How old are the kids now?

The Answer:

Shmuel: 12 years old
Shoshie: 8 years old
Yaakov: 11 years old
Leah: 6 years old
Sara: 2 years old

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