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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Parashas Lech Lecha

Whom Do You Believe?

"Before you decide to work for me today, Menachem, I must inform you of my method of payment. I have a line of credit at Chenvony's grocery store. At the end of the workday, you will go there and take groceries for your wages."

"That's fine with me Mr. Pinchas."

"Okay, Menachem. Have a good day's work."

Mr. Pinchas goes to Mr. Chenvony's store.

"I hired a worker today, Mr. Chenvony. At the end of the day, he will come to you for his wages. Give him $100 worth of groceries and put it on my tab."

"Sure thing Mr. Pinchas. You are one of my best customers."

Menachem works hard all day. The next morning he comes back to Mr. Pinchas.

"Mr. Pinchas, I am very upset. I worked very hard for you all day. When I was finished, I went to Mr. Chenvony's grocery store for my wages, just as you told me to do. Mr. Chenvony said that he did not know what I was talking about, and he sent me home empty handed. I demand my wages."

"You are absolutely justified, Menachem. Let me go to Mr. Chenvony and see what happened."

Mr. Pinchas goes to Mr. Chenvony's store.

"Good morning, Mr. Chenvony. How did it go yesterday with the worker?"

"Fine, Mr. Pinchas. I gave him $100 worth of groceries. You owe me $100."

Mr. Pinchas' heart sinks. Someone was lying. Both sides demanded payment. In the end, they take Mr. Pinchas to Beis Din.

The question is:

What is the proper ruling?

The answer is:

The Mishna (Shevuos 45a) discusses this case. The Tanna Kamma says that each side takes an oath in Beis Din, and each one collects $100. Ben Nanas argues. Someone will take a false oath! Therefore, they each collect $100 without swearing. Is this fair? Mr. Pinchas must pay twice! It is fair, because he dealt with people that were untrustworthy. One of them is lying and he must pay the price. The Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 91:1 rules like the Tanna Kamma. He adds that they must swear in front of each other. Perhaps they will be too embarrassed to lie and swear falsely in front of the one who knows the truth.

Create Life

"May we please have absolute quiet? The experiment is about to begin."

The huge auditorium was filled with hundreds of scientists, each one an expert in his field. In the center of the hall stood the latest super-hi-technology equipment. It was specially designed and constructed by these scientists for this experiment. All stood quietly, waiting for the head professor.

"Here we have a live mosquito. We will now place it in this chamber filled with poison. The mosquito will die, but its body will not be damaged. We will then take its body, hook it up to the equipment, and turn on the electrical current. We hope to see the mosquito come back to life."

Everyone watched intently on the giant video screen, as the little mosquito breathed its last breath. The delicate forceps then took its tiny legs and placed them on the electrodes. Its head was supported in semiconductor gel. Slowly the current began to flow through the electrodes.

"This is the big moment. We have worked for thirteen years and invested billions of dollars in this experiment. The mosquito must come back to life."

The current was increased to the maximum flow. All eyes were focused on the tiny mosquito. He lay there motionless. Everyone held their breath. Everyone, except the mosquito. He was dead and he would stay dead. Scientists can dream on, but only Hashem can create life.

"If you will gather everyone in the world together to create even one mosquito, they will not be able to give him a living soul" (Medrash Rabba 39:14). Man cannot create life. That is the sole province of Hashem. Yet the verse states, "And (Avram took with him) the souls which he made in Charan (Bereshis 12:5). How did Avram create souls? These souls were the people whom he brought close to Hashem. When you mekarev someone (bring him close) to Hashem, you give him life. He was previously living for his body, which is finite and will die. He is now living for his soul, which will exist for an eternity in the World to Come.

Kinderlach . . .

Bring people close to Hashem. Help those who are distant from Torah and Mitzvos. Be nice to them. Show them the beauty of Torah. Be a good example of its teachings. Help them in any way you can. You are giving them life. True life. Eternal life. A Torah life.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2013 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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