Family Parsha Parshat Re'eh: Rainy Weather Friend
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Re'eh(Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

Rainy Weather Friend


Each of us is in the middle of a tug-of-war - and it's going on right inside our head! On one side of the rope stands that feeling within us that wants to be giving, generous, and focused on helping others. But, often pulling just as hard on the other side is a voice urging us to act selfishly, and to forget about anybody's needs except our own. Which of those voices that a person chooses to listen to determines what kind of person he will be. This week's Torah portion urges us to choose to give. It teaches us that when we get the chance to help someone out, we should always open our heart and our hand.

 


In our story, a girl reaches down within herself and learns to focus on giving.

"SUNNY SIDE UP"

"What a day to miss my bus!" groaned Sarah Marks. She was on her way home from the mall and had just missed the 3:00 express. Rain was falling in buckets, and the girl didn't know what to do.

Sarah knew that her mom was really counting on her to babysit and since the next bus wouldn't be coming for an hour, she wouldn't make it home in time. Her only choice was to take one of the many taxis that were sloshing their way down the busy street, but as she checked her purse, Sarah discovered that she had spent practically her last cent on her shopping spree, and didn't have enough money for a cab.

The girl sadly stood at the bus stop dodging the flow of people rushing by with open umbrellas. Then suddenly out of the corner of her eye, she recognized Linda Jacoby, a girl from her class, walking by.

"Hey Linda!" Sarah called out. The girl turned around and Sarah waved. "Over here! It's me, Sarah."

Linda gave a slight smile. It seemed as if she was in a rush. "Oh, hi Sarah," she said. "What brings you to this part of town?"

"I had to go shopping for my sister's bat mitzvah gift," she said. "But I missed my bus and I'm going to be late. I'm glad to see a friendly face in the crowd. Could you please do me a big favor and lend me money to take a cab home and I'll pay you back in school next week?"

Linda bit her lip and seemed hesitant, as Sarah looked at her hopefully.

"Well, um, I'm not sure if I can..." Linda mumbled.

"Oh," said Sarah, obviously disappointed.

Linda started to walk away, thinking to herself, "I do have enough money with me to lend to this girl. But how do I know I won't need it. Also, who's to say she'll remember to pay me back, or even want to..."

Linda looked back to see Sarah's crest-fallen face as she looked at her watch nervously, rain soaking her hair. Linda kept walking but started to have second thoughts. "How can I not help my friend?" she thought, "Sarah obviously needs this loan and I'm able to help her. It would be cruel for me not to."

She turned around and headed quickly back to the bus stop, hoping Sarah would still be there. But when Linda got there she didn't see her. "Oh no, she's gone. I missed my chance to help. I hope she's alright."

But then she noticed a girl sitting huddled on the last bench. It was Sarah! Linda ran over to her and sat down next to her. Sarah hadn't noticed her among the crowd of people.

Linda tapped her friend on the shoulder. The startled girl looked up. "Oh, Linda, why have you come back?" she asked with surprise.

Linda smiled. She opened her purse and pulled out cab fare plus enough extra for her friend to get a warm drink. "Here," she said, handing the money to the grateful girl. "I just came back to finish some business," she said softly. "Have a safe trip and stay dry." Linda watched her friend hop in a cab and felt great. Her decision to act generously suddenly made a rainy day seem much sunnier for both of them.



Ages 3-5

Q. How did Linda feel when her friend asked her for help?
A. At first she felt selfish and didn't want to, but after she decided to lend a hand she felt glad she did.

Q. If someone asks us for a favor and we're able to do it, should we?
A. Yes. It's a wonderful thing to be able to help another person.

Q. What if we don't feel like it? Should we still do it?
A. Even though it is hard, yes we should still help. In fact, it's even better since it took more effort.

Ages 6-9

Q. Linda had second thoughts and turned around to help her friend, even though at first she decided not to. What was her struggle and what made her change her mind?
A. A lot of times a person has to struggle with two sides within himself. There is the side that wants to give to others and the side that wants to be selfish. Linda was strong in the end and listened to her inner voice to do good even though at first she felt otherwise.

Q. Why do you think we were created with a tug-of-war inside of us whether to be givers or takers? A. One of the main reasons that we are in the world is to perfect our character. When we choose to do the right thing, even when we feel an equally strong pull not to, we are exercising our free choice, and becoming great.

Q. What are some ways that you could choose to be a giver in your own life?
A. When appropriate you could lend out some of your things. If you have something you know others could benefit from, you could even publicize that you have it to lend out. Besides this, you could give of your time to help out the poor or elderly. Even a warm smile to the people you meet can give them a real boost.

Ages 10 and Up

Q. Are we being hypocritical if we don't really feel like helping or lending to someone else and do it in spite of this feeling? Perhaps it's better to wait until we really feel it and can do it with a full heart?
A. Of course we aim to be able to give with a full heart. However quite often a person's actions have to precede his or her feelings and not the other way around. It's normal to feel a resistance. To try to make ourselves into more giving people is never hypocritical; it can even be called noble.

Q. How can choosing to be a giver make a person more Godly?
A. The main way to become a more Godly person is to study God's behavior and try to emulate it. Since everything is His already, He never takes, and always gives. When we choose to give rather than take, we are emulating God, and growing more Godly.

Q. What are some ways that you could choose to be a giver in your own life?

Q. Why do you think we were created with a tug-of-war inside of us whether to be givers or takers?

 

Published: July 27, 2002

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