Sunday, December 30, 2012

Working Together

Once upon a time, not too long ago there were two twin sisters, one was named Aliza and the other was named Ahuva. They were in the same 4th grade class at school. They looked the same, they dressed the same, they even sounded the same. Everyone thought it was so cute! Well, everyone that is except for Aliza and Ahuva.

They did not like being the same at all! Instead, each sister would try to outdo the other one. If Aliza got a 100% on a test, then Ahuva would try to get 105%.
If Ahuva did a somersault in karate, then Aliza would do two somersaults. If Aliza hurt her thumb in the car door, then Ahuva would smash her whole hand!

"Girls!" said their mother one day when they were fighting yet again, "you need to work together. You'll get much farther in life than if you also argue with one another!" 

But the sisters didn't listen and kept on fighting.

A few days later in school, the girls were busy pulling each others hair during class. The teacher moved them to opposite sides of the room to separate them. Then they started throwing spit balls at each other!
The teacher stood them up and marched them straight into the principal's office.

"Oh no!" said Principal Weinberger, "not Ahuva and Aliza again!"
"You girls need to work with each other and stop fighting! You are twin sisters after all. I know, for your punishment, you both are going to have to help the janitor. Then you'll see that you need to work together!"

So the girls went and found the janitor.
"Principal Weinberger says we need to help you." said Ahuva.

"Okay!" said the janitor. "My name is Mr. Schlamazale!"
"We have to go to the basement because there is a leak from a pipe, let's go!"

The entire way down the steps the sisters kept fighting.
"I go first!" said Ahuva. "No, I go first!" replied Aliza.

"Girls, please stop fighting." begged Mr. Schlamazale.

"OK, now you see that leaky pipe, I need one of you to hand me the wrench please."

"I got it!" said Aliza as she dashed to get the tool. 
"No! I'll get it!" said Ahuva grabbing the wrench out of Aliza's hands.

"Girls!" said Mr. Shlamazale, "you really need to stop fighting. I'll just get the wrench myself. Sheesh!"

Mr Schlamazale wasn't the best plumber in the world. In fact, he really didn't even know how to fix a leaky pipe at all!

"Hmmm" thought Mr. Schlamazale to himself "do I turn the wrench to the right or to the left...?" He decided to turn it to the left.
At first, the pipe was very hard to turn, but then he gave it a strong hard turn, and the pipe started moving. Then he turned it again, and this time he heard a 'whoosh' sound. Suddenly, the pipe burst and water started pouring into the basement!

In a matter of moments, the basement was almost half filled with water! The girls ran higher up the steps to get out of the way. But the water kept creeping higher and higher.

"Help!" cried Mr. Schlamazale, "I can't swim! Please save me!"

"I'll save you!" said Ahuva.
"No way! I'll save you!" said Aliza. The girls began fighting and pushing each other out of the way. All the while, the water was getting higher and higher, and was almost up to Mr. Schlamazale's neck!

"Please," begged Mr. Schlamazale, "stop fighting and save me! This is worse than Hurricane Sandy!"

Ahuva turned to Aliza and said: "We need to work together. Otherwise we won't be able to save Mr. Schlamazale." 
"You're right!" replied Aliza, "I'll hold onto the railing. You grab my hand and reach as far as you can and grab Mr. Schlamazale."

So the sisters starting working together. With Aliza holding tight to the railing, Ahuva leaned as far as she could until she grabbed Mr. Schlamazale's hand. Then with both Ahuva and Aliza pulling, they dragged Mr. Schlamazale to the safety of the steps! 

"Thank you girls! Thank you!" Mr. Schlamazale kept repeating.

Principal Weinberger had to  hire professional plumbers to repair the damage and get rid of all the water. Mr. Schlamazale is still the janitor, but he doesn't do any more plumbing.

But mostly, the sisters learned an important lesson that day. It's better to work together than to fight. They can achieve much more by working as a team. 
They started helping each other with the homework, practicing their karate together, and from that day on, they never fought again.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy With What You Have

Once upon a time, not too long ago, there lived a man named Yankele. He was a nice man and was friendly to everyone. Whenever his wife needed help, he would readily lend a hand. If a friend needed something, Yankele was there in an instant.

There was only one thing that Yankele didn't like, and that was his job.
He would have to get up very early in the morning and would work until late at night. His job was to go into a cave and to dig up big rocks. Then he would have to carry these rocks up to the edge of the river. When he would collect 50 big rocks, a boat would come and take the rocks away to build homes and buildings. 
He would always come home late at night with his back and arms hurting, very tired from all his hard work.

One day, as Yankele was almost finished bringing all the rocks up, a little butterfly came floating in. It gently landed on the big pile of rocks Yankele had assembled. As it fluttered its wings, the big pile started to rumble, and suddenly, all the rocks fell into the river! 

Oh no! Now Yankele was going to have to carry another 50 big rocks up to the river edge, otherwise he wasn't going to get paid.

When Yankele got home that night, his wife realized he was not in a good mood. He complained about his hard work, and how he had to work twice as hard today. "And what's worse," continued Yankele, "is that I work so hard but all our neighbors work less but still have bigger homes and better cars. It's not fair!"

"Well" replied Yankele's wife "it says in the Torah:
Who is rich? Someone that is happy with what they have. 
So you just need to be happy and then you'll feel rich too!"

Yankele didn't like that answer at all. Before he went to bed that night, Yankele Davened to Hashem. He asked to not have to work so hard any longer and to be rich. 

While Yankele was sleeping, he had a dream. In the dream, the Malach Gavriel came to him and said;
"Yankele, Yankele. Hashem has heard your request and will answer your prayers. Tomorrow morning, go to the big rock by the beach and start digging. There you will find what you are looking for!"

When Yankele awoke the next morning, he took his shovel and went to the beach. When he found the big rock, he started digging. After a few minutes, there was nothing but sand. He dug more and more, and still, all he could see was sand. He was about to give up when his shovel hit something hard. It made a 'Thunk' sound. He dug ferociously, and there he saw, a big metal chest!
He pulled the chest up onto the beach, and slowly opened it up. Inside, was tons of money and jewels and old silver coins! It was worth millions of dollars! Yankele was so excited! He lugged the chest home and told his wife of their good fortune!

As the days passed, Yankele grew very fond of his money. So much that he never wanted to leave his house anymore. If friends wanted Yankele to go out with them, he would say "No!" Soon, he never even left his room, for fear that someone would steal all his money. He would have his wife bring all his meals to his room, so he could keep a watchful eye on his money 24x7.

"Won't you please come out for just a little bit?" begged his wife.
"No!" responded Yankele, "I am never leaving this room again! We are rich and i want to make certain that no one takes our money away."

A few months passed, and Yankele wasn't looking so good. He never saw his friends, never got any sunlight, and hardly slept for fear that someone would take his money.

Then, one day, there was a knock on the door to his room.
"Who is it?" grumbled Yankele.
"It's me, Mr. Schlamazale." said the voice. "Your wife asked me to come and install a kitchen in this room for you, so you don't have to leave to get food."
"Wonderful!" said Yankele, and he let Mr. Schlamazale inside.

Now, Mr. Schlamazale wasn't really so good at building things. Actually, this was his first ever job! He tried his best, but he didn't really understand where everything went. "Hmm," he said thinking to himself, "do I connect the green wire to the blue or to the yellow? Or maybe the red to the black? Or maybe the white to the purple?! Well, I guess it doesn't make a difference!" So he connected all the wires together!

 After Mr. Schlamazale was done, there was a brand new kitchen in Yankele's room.
"Now I will never have to leave this room, and I can always watch my money.. hahahaha!" said Yankele
"Come Mr. Schlamazale, let me make you some food as a thank you for installing this kitchen for me." said Yankele.
"Oh boy, that would be great!" said Mr. Schlamazale.

Yankele went to turn on the stove, and as he turned the dial, a humongous BOOM was heard. The room shook and in the next minute, the entire room blew up into a billion little pieces!

After the smoke settled, all that was left of the room was Yankele, Mr. Schlamazale, and a pile of ashes. All the money, jewels and coins were nothing but dust.

"My money...!" cried Yankele, "it's gone, every last penny!" And he started sobbing.
"Uhh, I'm sorry." said Mr. Schlamazale as he got up and ran away.

The next day, Mr. Schlamazale stopped by the house to apologize to Yankele.

Yankele came to the door, and when he saw Mr. Schlamazale, he lifted his hands.
"Don't hit me!" said Mr. Schlamazale in panic.
And with that, Yankele grabbed Mr. Schlamazale and gave him a big hug and a kiss!

"Wha..?" said Mr. Schlamazale.

"I've been living in this room for months," said Yankele, "not going outside, not seeing any of my friends, and hardly even seeing my wife. But now that I don't have any more money, I don't have to live like this anymore. I realized that I have a good wife, a nice house, and great friends. I don't need anything more in life. It's like the Torah says, a rich person is someone who is happy with what they have."
"So thank you Mr. Schlamazale for blowing up my room and all my money! Otherwise, I would never have left that room!"

"Oh," responded Mr. Schlamazale "you're very welcome! But, is there any way I can still get that breakfast from yesterday...?"



Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Chanukah Miracle

Once upon a time, not too long ago, there lived a Tatty. He was a Rebbi and a true Tzadek! Every Yom Tov, he would love to go to shul and sing and dance and read from the Torah. He had a son named Menashe, who was 12 years old. Menashe loved to go daven with Tatty.

In their house, there was a special glass cabinet where Tatty kept all the things he would need for Yom Tov. On Purim, he would take his Megillah case and read the story of Haman from it. On Pesach, he would take out his Pesach Seder Plate and relate the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim. On Rosh Hashana he would use his silver honey jar, and on Succos he would take out his Esrog case and sing and dance with Menashe in shul on Simchas Torah.

It was soon time for Chanukah, and Tatty's menorah couldn't wait! 
"I love Chanukah!", said the menorah to all the other Yom Tov items.
"We know," said the honey jar, "you've been waiting all year for Tatty to use you for the Mitzvah!"
"Just one more week and then Tatty will take me out and light my candles for eight straight days!" said the menorah. "I've been Tatty's menorah ever since he turned bar mitzvah and I love Chanukah so much!"

Well, it was now just one day before Chanukah. When Tatty got home from work, he turned to Menashe and said "You better bring your menorah down from your room. Tomorrow night is Chanukah and we should set up!"

Menashe ran to his room and took his menorah off the shelf. Menashe made his menorah all by himself in kindergarden. It was made out of a tissue box, and had stickers and crayon markings all over it! Nonetheless, Menashe loved his menorah and couldn't wait to use it again.

At the same time as Menashe was in his room, Tatty started walking to the glass cabinet to get his menorah. 
"Oh Boy!" said the menorah, "Tatty's coming to get me! I'll see you guys in a few days!!"

As Tatty was about to open the glass cabinet door, his wife stopped him and said; "Tatty, I have a present for you!" and she handed him a huge box.
"A present?" asked Tatty, "but it's not even Chanukah yet!"
"I know," replied his wife, "but I want you to open it now."
"Ok" said Tatty.

Tatty slowly removed the wrapping paper, and from inside the box he removed the biggest, most beautiful, awesomest menorah you've ever seen! 
"Wow!" said Tatty "this is beautiful! Thank you so much!"
"I thought it was time you got a new menorah," said his wife. "You've been using that old one since you were bar mitzvah!"
"I'll go put this on the Chanukah table right now!" said Tatty.

As Tatty was busy arranging his and Menashe's menorahs' on the table, his old menorah in the glass case started to cry; "Waaaah! I've been waiting all year for Tatty to use me! I love Chanukah, and I've been Tatty's menorah for so many years!"

None of the other Yom Tov items knew what to say to console the menorah.

Then, the old Megillah case said; "You have to remember menorah, even when everything looks bad, Hashem always does things for the best. We may not understand it now, but you'll see in the end it'll be for good." But the menorah kept on crying..

The next day, while Menashe was at school and Tatty was at work, the doorbell rang.
Mommy opened the door and there was a man standing there. "Hello," he said, "my name is Mr. Schlamazale. I'm here to pick up the clothing for the poor people."

"Oh yes," said the Mommy, "I put a big box together of clothing, food, books, and games for the poor people. It's right by the Chanukah table. But be careful, it's very heavy!"
"Don't worry" said Mr. Schlamazale, "I'm very strong. Yup."

Just then the phone rang. "You get that," said Mr. Schlamazale, "I can take the box myself."

As Mommy was in the kitchen talking on the phone, Mr. Schlamazale went to go pick up the box. "Ooooof!" he said trying to lift it, "it really is heavy."
So he bent down low, grabbed onto the box and with all his might starting lifting it. His whole body was shaking from the weight of the box! Without even realizing it, Mr. Schlamazale bumped into the Chanukah table, and Menashe's menorah fell into the box! 
Just as Mr Schlamazale got the box lifted up high, his pants gave a loud "RRRIIIIIPPP!"
"Uh, I have to go" said Mr Schlamazale loudly to Mommy, "thank you for the Tzedakah for the poor people!" and he ran out of the house before anyone could see!

When Tatty and Menashe got home that night, Tatty said "It's time to light the Chanukah candles!" Tatty's old menorah was still crying in the glass case, thinking that it will never be used again.

"Where's my menorah?" asked Menashe, "I left it here last night!"
Menashe, Tatty and Mommy looked all over the house, but couldn't find his menorah. 
Just then, Menashe started crying "I want my menorah, what happened to it?!"

Tatty said to Menashe "You know, I wanted to give you my old menorah when Mommy got me this new one since you are almost bar mitzvah. But since you loved your menorah so much, I didn't want you not to use it anymore. Now that it's missing, you should use my menorah!" With that, Tatty opened the glass case and took his old menorah out.

"Huh, wha?" the old menorah didn't know what was going on.

"I want you to use my menorah from now on!" Tatty said to Menashe. "And when you have a son, I want you to give him this menorah when he turns bar mitzvah!" 
The old menorah couldn't believe it! Not only was he being used again, he was going to be passed on from generation to generation! The Megillah case was right, everything did turn out for good!

After Tatty and Menashe lit menorah and sang the Chanukah songs, Menashe turned to Tatty and said; "I love my new menorah very much. I just wonder what happened to my old one." 
"Well," said Tatty, "even though we may never know, everything that Hashem does, it always is for good." 
And as Tatty was saying these words, a poor little boy, in a small dilapidated house, was thrilled to be lighting his very own tissue box, crayon markings, and sticker menorah!