When Jacob was a very old man and knew he was going to die, he called all his sons to come together.
Everyone gathered around his bed. They were all very quiet, waiting to hear what this great man was going to say before he passed from this world into the next one.
Jacob began to speak. One by one he turned to each of his sons and gave them his final blessing.
Jacob knew that each of his sons was going to become a leader of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. He wanted to tell each one about the special role assigned to him -- and him alone -- in building the Jewish people.
Jacob told two of his sons, Issachar and Zevulun that they were going to be partners. Issachar's family would spend their days studying and teaching Jewish wisdom. And Zevulun's family would become rich, powerful merchants.
Even though they would be very different, each family would help each other. Zevulun would help Issachar by supporting him and taking care of his daily needs. And Issachar would help Zevulun by teaching and sharing with him all the wisdom he learned.
Like Issachar and Zevulun, these two very different boys make a deal and become...
Jack and Morris were best friends. But nobody could understand why.
Jack was a popular boy, big as a tree and strong as an ox. He was a starter on the school football team, and never studied very much.
Morris couldn't be any more different from Jack if he tried. He was short and skinny. His glasses were so thick that it was hard to see if his eyes were open or closed. Not that it mattered, because Morris' face was always buried in a book. He loved to learn, and he read about anything and everything.
Yup, Jack and Morris were as different as could be. But what people didn't know was that Jack, behind all of his muscles, really did want to learn about things. It just took him a long time to understand. He knew that Morris's world of studying and books was very important and special. Jack didn't like it that sometimes other kids would make fun of Morris and bother him when he walked to school.
So one day Jack came up to Morris and said, "Hey Morris, let's make a deal."
"What kind of deal?" asked Morris, a bit surprised.
"From now on we walk to school together," answered Jack. "I'll carry your books, 'cause I know they're heavy for you. And you'll tell me stories and teach me about some of those things you're always learning about. I'll make sure that nobody gives you any trouble, because nobody's dumb enough to pick on a friend of mine. What do you say pal?"
"Sure!" said Morris with a big smile.
And from that day on they walked to school together and became unlikely partners and best friends.
Q. How did Jack feel when he saw Morris studying all the time?
A. He felt like he also wanted to learn things.
Q. How did Jack help Morris? How did Morris help Jack?
Q. Why didn't people understand how Jack and Morris could be friends?
A. Because they were so different.
Q. So why did they become friends?
A. Because even though they were different, they each had special things they could do to help each other. Jack protected Morris, and Morris taught Jack about things.
Age 10 and Up
Q. Do you think people that are different can be friends? Why or why not?
Q. What could a person gain by having a friend who is different than him?