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.