Simcha's Torah Stories - Tazria

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Simcha's Torah Stories

Parshat Tazria

THE TRICKSTER

"Please, my friend, come. You look like a stranger in town."

The stranger was very happy to be welcomed by such a friendly individual. He indeed was visiting in town and needed a place to eat and stay. Little did he know that his "friend" was really a trickster.

"Come, please let me show you around town and help you get settled. I will arrange a place for you to sleep tonight. But first, I am sure that you are hungry. Please, come with me for a bite to eat."

The trickster proceeded to take the stranger to a fancy restaurant. They entered and were shown to their seats.

"Please order whatever you like," said the trickster. "I will pay for everything." We will work out the bill some other time.

The items listed on the menu all sounded delicious and were very expensive. "This man is very generous," thought the stranger. "It is my good fortune that I met him."

The two men proceeded to order a sumptuous meal, complete from soup to nuts. The food was served in all of its courses, and they enjoyed themselves tremendously. As they finished eating and drinking, the trickster excused himself for a few minutes. He slipped away out the back door of the restaurant. The waiter then came and presented the guest with a huge bill.

"Yes, just a moment. My host will be returning to pay this."

They waited and waited, but the trickster was nowhere to be found. The owner of the restaurant came to help the waiter.

"But, but, my friend was supposed to pay this bill," the man pleaded.

"Your friend is not here, but you are. You ate this food and must pay for it."

The guest, realizing that he had been tricked, sadly took out his wallet and paid the expensive bill for the meal.

This is a parable from the Chofetz Chaim zt"l. What is the message? While the guest was eating, he thought the trickster was his friend. It was only after the meal that he realized that he was only out to harm him. So too with loshon hora. Someone may want to tell you the deepest secrets that he knows about other people. How honored and flattered you feel to be so close to a person who will share secrets with you. However, after 120 years we will see that your closeness to such a person caused you to hear loshon hora. That "friendship" just like the meal at the restaurant, will cause you a great loss. Don't let the trickster fool you. Be smart and stay away from "friends" like the trickster.

Simcha's Talmudic Quiz

WHO BUILT THE WALL?

Yossie owns field A

Max owns fields B, C, D, and E.

Max builds walls 1, 2, and3 between his property and Yossie's.

The fourth wall is built and Yossie must pay for half the cost of building all four walls.

The question is: who built the fourth wall?

(This puzzle is form Tractate Bava Basra 4b)


ANSWER TO LAST WEEK'S PUZZLE

RETURN IT TO WHO?

"Chaim, we learned in Parshas Vayikra that we have a mitzvah to return stolen objects."

"Right you are, Avi. Chapter 5, Verse 23."

"What if you steal something from an old man and before you can return it unfortunately he passes away."

"Then you must return it to his heirs who inherit his estate."

"Now I have a real question for you, Chaim. What if an only son steals from his father. Before he can return the stolen object, his father dies. Therefore, he inherits his father. The law is that he must return the stolen object to the heir of his father who is himself. What does he do with the stolen object?

(This puzzle is from Tractate Bava Kamma 109a)

The Answer is:

This is a dispute in the Gemora.

  1. Rebbe Yossie HaGlili says that the son may keep the stolen object. After all, he inherited it from his father.

  2. Rebbe Akiva says that he cannot correct the sin of stealing unless he rids himself of the stolen object.

What does he do with it?

The Mechaber (Shulchan Auruch Choshen Mishpat 367:5) rules like Rebbe Akiva. The son who stole from his father must give the stolen object to his son(s). If he has no sons he may give it to a creditor as payment for a loan. Or he may give it to charity. When he gets rid of it, he has discharged his obligation. The receiver of the object must know that this is an act of repentance for the theft. Therefore at the time of giving away the object he should say, "This is what I stole from my father."


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