Saturday, February 4, 2012

Brute The Taxman

Once upon a time, many hundreds of years ago, in the land of Yerushalayim, there lived a king named King Dovid. Everybody loved King Dovid, for he was a fair and nice king. He treated his people with respect and dignity. But, there was someone that worked for King Dovid that was not nice. His name is Brute The Taxman.

People called him Mean Brute The Taxman, and his job was to go around town and collect taxes. And boy, was he mean!!

He would go to a house, and bang very hard on the door screaming:
"Open up! It's me, Brute The Taxman!! You need to pay your taxes NOW!!"
 If someone didn't have money to pay, he would take their clothing or furniture instead. He would never give them a chance to bring the money on a different day.

One time, Mean Brute was walking in the street and saw a poor beggar sitting on the side of the road. Mean Brute approached the beggar and said:
"You have to pay taxes!"
The poor beggar responded:
"But I have no money, no house to live in, not even any food to eat. How can I pay taxes?"
Mean Brute said: "Too bad! You live in this city, so you have to pay our taxes!"

And with that, Mean Brute took the coat that the poor beggar was wearing.
"Please" said the poor beggar, "that's my only coat. It's winter time and very cold. Please don't take my coat, I will freeze out here!"
"Too bad!" said Mean Brute. "Since you won't pay taxes, I am taking your coat as payment instead!"
Then Mean Brute left the poor beggar sitting on the side of the road, with no coat to protect him. Mean Brute was very mean!

When King Dovid heard how Mean Brute was treating people, he called Brute into his chambers. King Dovid told Mean Brute:
"You have to stop being so mean! Everyone that lives here is Jewish, and you are Jewish. You have to be nicer to your fellow Jew!"
 "Hah!" Said Mean Brute. "My job is to collect taxes, and that is what I am going to do!"
"But you could be nicer." begged King Dovid. "If someone has no money to pay today, then come back a different time. Please, be a little nicer!"
 "I have to collect taxes, and that's that!" Said Mean Brute turning to leave.
"Wait!" Said King Dovid. "Before you leave, take this." King Dovid then handed Mean Brute a little Chumash. "Put it in your pocket and carry it with you wherever you go. That way, when you collect taxes, you'll feel the Chumash and maybe you'll remember to be nicer to your fellow Jew."
Mean Brute took the Chumash, shoved it into his pocket, and left the palace.
But even with the Chumash in his pocket, he was still mean. And he wasn't any nicer. He still would bang on doors and take away anything people had. He was mean as mean could be.

Finally, King Dovid decided that something had to be done about Mean Brute. After thinking about it, King Dovid decided that he would send Mean Brute to a far away land to collect taxes there. In those days, there were no airplanes. People had to travel by boat, which could take weeks and weeks until it reached the land. King Dovid hoped that if Mean Brute was stuck on a boat for such a long time, he would think about all he has done wrong and realize that he needs to be nicer to his fellow Jew.

Although King Dovid had good intentions, it didn't help at all. Mean Brute just sat back with his Pina Colada and enjoyed the sunshine the entire boat ride. He never once thought about how mean he was and how needs to be nicer to his fellow Jew.
When the boat reached the far away land, Mean Brute was just as mean as ever. He went banging and shouting from one house to the next. Taking money, clothing, furniture, or whatever the person had, until everyone had paid their share of the taxes. 

When the time came for Mean Brute to go back home, he had many trunks and chests filled with gold, silver, money, couches, clothing, shoes, and toys from all the people. He stored them onto the boat, and then boarded with the rest of the passengers.

The captain of the boat back home was called Captain Schlamazale. That is because he sometimes did things without thinking. When the boat was in the middle of the ocean, Captain Schlamazale decided he wanted to see what would happen if he pushed a new button. He never pressed this button before, so he was curious to see what would occur.

On the button were big red letters saying: DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON!

Well, Captain Schlamazale pushed the button anyway! Instantly, the boat swerved right, then left, flipped around in a circle and hit a big rock! Water started gushing into the boat, and the boat began sinking. Uh Oh!

There was only one life raft on the boat, and everyone started running towards it.
Suddenly, they heard someone scream. "STOP!".
Mean Brute was standing there blocking the life raft.

"My job is to bring this tax money back to the kingdom. There is no room for all my trunks and chests of money and all of you people.You will just have to stay here" said Mean Brute.

"Stay here!" the people cried. "The boat is sinking! If we don't get on that life raft, we will all drown!"

"Too bad!" said Mean Brute. He then started to pick up a chest to put onto the life raft. As he was lifting the chest, he felt the little Chumash that was still in his pocket. Suddenly, he remembered what King Dovid told him, about helping out his fellow Jew, and realized what he must do.

"Alright," said Mean Brute. "I'll leave the trunks and chests of money here. Everyone get into the life raft. And do it fast before I change my mind!"

Quickly, everyone piled into the raft. As the last person got onto the raft, the boat sank to the bottom of the ocean with everything on it, even all the tax money collected by Mean Brute.

Though the people were saved from the sinking ship, they still were in the middle of the ocean. "How will we survive?" the people started asking. "We have no food and we are still many days away from getting back home?!" The people started crying, thinking that they were all going to starve.

"You should have done what I did." said Mean Brute. He opened his coat and showed the people that inside he had lots of loaves of bread. "I put these in my coat when I knew the ship was sinking."

"Could we please have some?' asked the people on the raft.

"No no!" Said Mean Brute. "Too bad! You should have done the same!"
And with that, he closed his coat tight!

But as he was closing it, he felt the little Chumash in his coat pocket and remembered what King Dovid said about helping is fellow Jew.

"Argh. OK, I'll share my bread with you" said Mean Brute. He then gave everyone a loaf of bread.

Next, Mean Brute took out a huge jug of water and was about to take a sip, when he saw all the people staring at him. "Erghhh... fine! I'll share my water with you too!"

Now the people were safe on the boat with food and water, but it still was a long time until they would get back to land. Again, the people started crying, thinking they will never make it back home. So Mean Brute took out the little Chumash, and started reading about how Hashem saved Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. "We'll be saved too," said Mean Brute.

A few days later, the life raft landed on land back at the kingdom. Everyone got out and was singing and dancing, happy to be back home! Everyone was excited, except for Mean Brute. He thought that King Dovid would be mad at him since he lost all the tax money.  He was afraid he would be punished or sent to jail!

While everyone was dancing, Mean Brute ran away and decided to hide.
He found a little cave, which had a fig tree and a little river. Mean Brute hid in that cave for a few days, eating the figs and drinking the water. All he had in the cave was his little Chumash, so he started to read and learn it. In a few days, he finished one chapter, then a week later, the next. Soon, he finished the entire Chumash and was starting again.

Finally, one year later, Mean Brute decided it was time to come out of the cave and to face King Dovid. By this time he had a long beard and knew all of the Torah. So he left the cave and went straight to the palace, directly into the chamber where King Dovid was.

Mean Brute said:
"You might not remember me King Dovid, but I am Mean Brute. You sent me to a far away land to collect taxes for you. But on the way back, the boat began sinking. I could either save the tax money or the Jewish people. And I remember what you told me about helping a fellow Jew, so I saved the people. I was too afraid to tell you this until now. So I was hiding in  a cave. I have learned all the Torah, and I realize that I was very mean and I was wrong for how I treated people. Please don't punish me or throw me in jail!"

King Dovid just sat there staring at Mean Brute. Then King Dovid got up out of his chair and walked straight up to him and stared in his eyes. Then, the king grabbed Brute and....gave him a big hug and kiss! "I was looking all over for you" said King Dovid. "I can not thank you enough!"

"Not only did you save all those people, you also saved my daughter!" King Dovid said. "My daughter was on that ship, and she told me how you let the people on the life raft, gave them food and water, and read from the Chumash to them. Because of you, my daughter and all those other people are still alive!"

"But" said the king, "I am not done with you yet!".

"Uh oh" thought Mean Brute, "now I am going to get punished!"

"From now on" said King Dovid, "you will no longer be called Mean Brute. Instead, you will be known as Rabbi Boruch! For you truly know what it means to help a fellow Jew!"

From that day forth, Rabbi Boruch was the Nice Taxman. He wouldn't bang on doors shouting anymore. Instead, he quietly knocked. If he saw a poor beggar on the road, he would open his wallet and give the poor beggar all of his own money! Then he would offer the poor beggar to come and stay in his house.

Rabbi Bourch never forgot what it meant to always help a fellow Jew.


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