Simcha's Torah Stories - Emor

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Simcha's Torah Stories

Parshat Emor


Chaim, this bus is sure filling up fast.

Thank G-d that we got these seats near the front when the bus was almost empty, Avi.

At the next stop, a man struggling with his many packages walks up the steps of the bus. Chaim and Avi quickly rise and give him their seats on the bus.

Thank you so much boys. That was so nice of you. It is comforting to see such well-mannered young men.

Thank you very much, sir.

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question boys?

Not at all, sir.

What are those little round hats that you are wearing on your heads?

They are called kippot sir.

Why do you wear them?

We are religious Jews and we cover our heads to remind ourselves that there is a higher power above us.

Really! Where did you learn such a thing?

It is in our Torah, sir.

Boys, I myself am Jewish. I never had much of a Jewish education, so I don't know much about the Torah. Tell me something else that is in the Torah.

Well, sir, when we gave you our seat, we performed at least three commandments.

There are ten commandments altogether, correct?

Not exactly. Those ten that you are thinking of are very important because they were the first ones given on Mt. Sinai. However, there are actually 613 commandments in the Torah.

Which three did you fulfill?

"Love your fellow Jew as yourself" (Vayikra 19:18). When we perform an act of kindness for a fellow Jew, we fulfill this commandment. "Rise in the presence of an old person" (Vayikra 19:32). We stood up to show our respect for someone older than ourselves. Sanctification of G-d's Name (Vayikra 22:32).

Boys, those first two commandments are wonderful! They show how you really care for other people and respect them. You boys are very fortunate that you learned these things from the Torah. It is a pleasure to be with you because you are so refined. Now, what is that last commandment?

Believe it or not sir, that last commandment is to be a proper representative of G-d and the Torah. The Talmud states your words almost exactly. One who fulfills the Torah's teachings causes people to say about him, "Fortunate are his father and his teacher who taught him Torah. Oy to those who do not learn Torah! Look how his ways are delightful, his deeds are refined." You see, sir, we are all G-d's ambassadors. People are observing us. They judge G-d and the Torah by our actions. When we behave properly, we cause people to say nice things about G-d. That is one way that we fulfill the commandment of sanctifying His Name.

Boys, you are both worthy emissaries. I would like very much to meet your teacher. Perhaps he could teach me Torah.

Why not? Then you can become a representative too! The Jewish people are always looking for good ambassadors. Please, follow us. Your limousine is waiting, sir. VIP's get the red carpet treatment!

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Written by Simcha Groffman
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