Simcha's Torah Stories - Bechukosai
Chaim, hurry. You don't want to be late for school.
I'm watching these construction workers, Avi. It's fascinating. Those three over there are working very slowly. However, that one on the left is working twice as fast as they are. Look at him go.
You're right Chaim, but we have also to work fast if we want to get to school on time.
I will catch up to you, Avi. But I just want to ask that fast worker a few questions.
Okay Chaim. I hope you make it.
Excuse me sir. I do not want to disturb you because I see that you are working so hard. I just want to ask you something.
Go ahead young man.
I see that you are working twice as fast as these other workers. Why is that? Don't you want to take it easy?
That is a good question young man. I will explain the situation to you. Our boss pays us for the amount of work that we do. If we can accomplish more in the same amount of time, we will make more money. G-d has blessed my wife and I with a big family. We have many expenses, so I need to make enough money to pay the bills. Therefore I must work very hard to produce more and earn more money. Those other men do not have such big families, so they do not need so much money. Therefore, they can be a little more relaxed in their work.
Now I understand sir. Thank you very much for taking some of your precious time to answer my question.
Not at all young man. I feel very good about my work. When I begin to work in the morning, I think that I am doing my job in order to feed and clothe my wife and children. That motivates me to work as hard as I can. I enjoy my work very much because I know what good things it produces.
Bye bye sir. I have to go to school now. That is my job. I don't want to be late.
Chaim hurries to school and arrives just as the morning bell sounds. The first class of the day is Parshas HaShavuah, about the weekly Torah portion.
Okay, boys. Let us begin this week's Torah portion, Parshas Bechukosai. Chaim, will you please read first?
Yes, Rabbi Lebowitz. "If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them."
Very good, Chaim. Now please read Rashi's commentary on the words "and observe My commandments."
"You should toil in the study of Torah in order to guard and fulfill (the mitzvos)."
Can anyone explain what this means?
I believe that I can, Rabbi Lebowitz.
Go right ahead Chaim.
This morning on the way to school I saw a construction worker who was toiling away at his job. I asked him why he was working so hard. He explained to me that he had a big family and many expenses, therefore he needs to work hard to earn the money to pay the bills. He said that he felt good knowing that his work helped to feed and clothe his family. That motivated him to work very hard.
Very good, Chaim. How do we apply that to toiling in Torah? What is our motivation?
When we learn Torah, we are doing a mitzvah that is equal to all of the other mitzvos combined.
Excellent Chaim. What is the source for that?
The end of the Mishna in Peah that we say after our Bircas HaTorah every morning. "Learning Torah is equal to all of them (the mitzvos)."
Chaim, you are a real budding Talmid Chochom.
May I add something Rabbi Lebowitz?
Our Torah learning provides the spiritual energy that keeps the world running.
Wonderful, Avi. When we sit down to learn Torah let us all think about that construction worker that Chaim saw this morning. If supporting his family makes him toil so hard, then how much more so we should toil. We are supporting much more than one family. We are supporting the entire world. If he is happy and satisfied knowing that his work supports his family, how much more so should we be happy and satisfied knowing that we are supporting the world.
Thank you so much Rabbi Lebowitz!
You're welcome boys! Now who will read the next verse? We must get to work here. The world is depending on us.
Everyone begins to read at once.
"Then I will provide your rains in their time..."
Boys, your toiling is music to my ears.
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