Monday, January 26, 2015

Selfish Sruli

Once upon a time, not so long ago there was a little boy named Naftali. Naftali was nine years old and was a very good boy and he got along with most of the kids in his class. However, there were two boys that Naftali did not get along with. One was Shmuli and that’s because Shmuli was a bully. The other boy was new to his class this year. His name was Sruli. Even though Sruli seemed to be a good boy, everybody called him Selfish Sruli.

Why was he called Selfish Sruli? Well for example, one time everybody in the class had to bring in $1 for the pizza party that the class is going to have. Everybody brought in their dollar bill, except for Sruli. He did not bring in any money at all. One of the boys in the class even said, ‘But Sruli, I know that your mommy gives you an allowance every week! Why didn’t you bring the money?’ Sruli just kept quiet and didn’t answer.

Another time, everyone was supposed to bring in a gift for a gift exchange program at school. However, when it came to the day, everybody brought in a gift besides for Sruli. ’Hey’, said one of the boys, ’I saw you with a brand-new G.I. Joe toy last week! Why didn’t you bring that in?’ Sruli just kept quiet and didn’t answer.

Yet another time, all the boys were supposed to come together to help decorate the Sukkah for a very special Sukkah hop. However, when it came time for the boys to get together, guess who was missing? Yep, that’s right, Sruli was nowhere to be seen. 

Everyone just figured that Sruli was selfish, and that’s why he is called Selfish Sruli.

One day before school Naftali’s mother told him, ’I’m sorry Naftali, but I’m not going to be home after school. I checked with all your friends and none of them are going to be home either! They either have to go to the dentist or the doctor or they have afterschool activities. So….you have to go to Sruli’s house.’

‘Oh no!’ Said Naftali.  ‘I don’t want to go to Selfish Sruli’s house!’

‘I’m sorry,’ said Naftali’s mother, ‘but there’s nobody else to go to. And anyway, maybe Sruli’s not as bad as you think he is.’

After school Naftali went over to Sruli’s house. When they arrived the door opened and there was a man standing there in a maid’s outfit. ‘Hello!’ said the man, ‘my name is Mr. Schlamazale! And I’m the housekeeper for today.’

‘Huh?’ said Naphtali, ‘what happened to the regular housekeeper? ‘

‘Oh,’ said Mr. Schlamazale, ’she got sick today and there is nobody else to fill in so I’m doing the job. I hope I do a good job this since this is my first time ever doing housekeeping.’

Naftali decided that the best thing to do was to sit down and do his homework until his mother came to get him. As he was doing his homework he heard Mr. Schlamazale humming and singing all the while he was trying to clean the house.

‘Woah!’ said Mr. Schlamazale. 
‘Is everything okay?’ asked Sruli.
‘Yes’ said Mr. Schlamazale, ‘I’m just trying to reach the top of your lights in your rooms Sruli, so I can get them nice and sparkly. Just this basketball I’m standing on isn’t very stable!’

‘Woah!’ said Mr. Schlamazale a short time later, even louder this time, ’Woah, Woah, Woaahhh!’

Just then, the boys heard a loud crash. Quickly they ran into Sruli’s room to see what happened. When they got there, they saw Mr. Schlamazale sprawled out on the floor in his maid’s outfit with a feather duster in his hand. 'Ooooh’ said Mr. Schlamazale 'I’m okay.’

Just then, Naftali looked around the room and realized all the things that were hanging on Sruli’s wall. There were pictures of Sruli by all these different organizations. There was a picture of Sruli helping Israeli soldiers, a picture Sruli helping in a soup kitchen, another picture of Sruli giving out gifts to the children in the hospital, another picture of Sruli helping the orphans, and more and more and more! Each of the pictures had a date and a little narrative written on the bottom of it.

As Naftali was looking at some of the pictures he turned to Sruli and said, ’Hey! This picture of you giving money so that the soldiers can buy food says that you donated all your allowance money to them! And this was the day before we were supposed to have our pizza party!

And this picture says that you donated all your toys to the poor orphan children. And this was a few days before we had the gift exchange in school! And this picture says you were busy helping the poor old people in the nursing home. And this was the day we were supposed to decorate the Sukkah! 

So these are the reasons why you didn’t bring money, a gift, or help decorate! You’re not Selfish Sruli, you’re really Selfless Sruli!’ exclaimed Naftali.

‘But,’ asked Naftali, ‘why didn’t you say anything'?

‘Well’ answered Sruli ‘my mother always said that the best Mitzvohs are those that you don’t need to advertise.’

‘I’m going to tell everyone in school what a real Tzaddik you are!’ said Naftali.

‘Woah!’ said Sruli, ‘I’d rather if you didn’t do that..’

‘But why…?’ asked Naftali.

‘Well, I have a reputation to uphold!’ answered Sruli with a twinkle in his eye.

From that day forward, if Sruli couldn’t be there to help his classmates with a party or something trivial, Naftali knew that it was because he was doing something much better. Because he knew that Sruli was really Selfless Sruli.

In addition, Naftali learned not to be too quick to judge someone, as they may turn out to be completely different than what you thought.

                                                                THE END

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Chanukah Ma'aser

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Yoni. Yoni was a good boy and he was seven years old. Yoni was very excited, because Chanukah just finished and Yoni collected a lot of money, by playing Dreidel and getting Chanukah gelt. 

Yoni kept all his coins in a bag Ziploc bag that made a ‘ching-ching’ noise wherever he went. The next day, Yoni’s Daddy took him to the bank to see how much money Yoni collected. Yoni took his big bag and went on his way with his Daddy to the bank. When they got to the bank, Yoni dumped all his coins into the coin machine, and they waited for the paper to come out telling him how much money he had. Yoni was super excited when it said he had $94.67!

Daddy gave him a crisp, clean, new $100 bill and said that ‘This is my Chanukah gift to you!’
Wow, Yoni was thrilled! He never had a $100 bill before!

When they got home, Yoni’s Daddy told him, ‘Oh Yoni, don’t forget that you have to give Ma’aser.’
‘Ma’aser? What is Ma’aser?’ Asked Yoni.

‘Well…’ his Daddy was about to tell him but just then the doorbell rang and Yoni’s father went to answer it. It looked like it was going to be a while, so Yoni decided instead to ask somebody very, very smart who is really, really old. He was going to ask his older brother Reuven who was 11 years old.

'Reuven,' and asked Yoni, 'what is Ma’aser?’
‘Ma’aser’, responded Reuven, 'is when you have to give a percentage of your money to Tzedakah. You have to give 10% to Tzedakah as Hashem tells us in the Torah that this is what we must do.’
‘Oh…’ Said Yoni, ’so how much is 10% of $100?’
‘Well,’ answered Reuven, ‘that is $10 that you have to give to Tzedakah.’

Yoni thought about it, but giving away $10 means he would only be left with $90! Yoni liked the $100 so much more! Well, Yoni decided he would think about it and he didn’t give the Tzedakah right away.

The next day, Yoni was so excited because he kept his hundred dollar bill with him wherever he went.
Every week in school, there was a spelling test. Usually, Yoni would get a 100% on the spelling test but somehow Yoni only got a 90% on the spelling test! Somehow, Yoni got 10% wrong. ‘Hmm..’ thought Yoni, ‘oh well…’.

Then during recess when they were trading baseball cards Yoni lost 10 very good baseball cards! ‘Hmm…’ thought Yoni, ‘oh well…’.

After school, Yoni was waiting for his bus, and it was 10 minutes late! When the bus finally pulled up it was a different bus and the bus number was number 10!

The door opened and there was a substitute bus driver. He said ‘Hello boys, my name is Mr. Schlamazale!’

He said, ’I’m sorry that I’m 10 minutes late. Oh, and I usually hit about 10 bumps along the way.’ ‘Hmm…’ thought Yoni, ‘again with the number 10. Oh well..’.

Mr. Schlamazale was right because the bus was bouncing around everywhere banging this way and banging that way, up and down Yoni went banging against the seat in front at least 10 times!

When Yoni’s stop was finally here and Yoni couldn’t wait to get off the bus. ’Thank you Mr. Schlamazale’, said Yoni as he exited the bus, still holding onto his favorite hundred dollar bill.  As Yoni was stepping off the bus, the door closed and ripped off a little bit of the hundred dollar bill!
‘Awwwww!!!’ said Mr. Schlamazale, ‘I’m sooo sorry! It looks like I ripped off 10% from your hundred dollar bill!’ Yoni just looked at his ripped dollar bill and ran home crying.

Later that night there was a knock on Yoni’s door. Yoni’s father opened the door and there was Mr. Schlamazale. ‘I’m so sorry about Yoni’s $100 bill’ Mr. Schlamazale said. Just then, Yoni walked into the room and said, ’No, it’s not your fault Mr. Schlamazale. The reason I got 10% wrong on my spelling test, and lost 10 baseball cards, and the bus came 10 minutes late and I got bounced around 10 times and 10% of my $100 got ripped… is because I never gave Ma’aser like I was supposed to. It’s my fault.’

‘Hmm..’ said Yoni’s father, ‘it’s very important to give Ma’aser right away.’
‘I know that now’ answered Yoni.

Yoni’s father took the ripped $100 bill and gave Yoni a brand new one. ‘Let’s start again’ Yoni’s father said with a twinkle in his eye. Yoni quickly asked his father to give him only $90 and to give the $10 to Tzedakah right away!

It was a few months later, and now it was Yoni’s birthday. Every year, he would get a birthday card in the mail from his Bubby. This year, he opened the card and inside the card was a $50 bill. Right away Yoni ran to his Mommy and said ‘I have to give Ma’aser, quick, what’s 10% of $50?’

From that day on Yoni always gave Ma’aser right away without delay!

                                              THE END