A king had three loyal advisors who were very close to his heart. One day, the king was told that his trusted friends were plotting to rebel against him. He was further told that his friends made fun of him behind closed doors, and that the king had misjudged them and believed them to be true.
The king summoned his three friends and commanded each, one of them to take control of a dog from the royal kennels and to care for it for three months. After three months had passed, they were to return to the palace.
The king then instructed that any money that was needed to care for the dogs would be provided from the royal treasury to the three men.
The first man took the money but did not use any of it to care for the dog. Instead, he fed the dog his own leftover food and used the money to have a beautiful gold crown fashioned as a gift for the king.
The second man gave the dog just enough food in order for it to remain alive.
The third man, on the other hand, spent all of the money on food for the dog, and the dog grew so fat that it was unrecognizable. When the three months had passed, the friends came before the king.
The first man presented the king with the beautiful gift that he had purchased. The king was delighted and, in return, gave the man a reward from his treasury that was worth many times more than the crown.
The second man showed the king the weak and emaciated dog; the king sent him home without any reward whatsoever.
When the third man displayed the overweight dog, the king —furious over the fact that the man had wasted the money by spending it so unwisely snatched the dog away from him.
There are three types of individuals in the world: The first are the righteous, who do not derive any pleasure whatsoever from materialism and employ all of their powers in the service of Hashem. With the good deeds they perform, they fashion a beautiful crown for their Creator how great is their reward!
The second group consists of those individuals who derive just enough benefit from the world in order to sustain their bodies, not a drop more or less.
The third group consists of those who waste away all of their days, pursuing the delights of this world. In the next world they will be punished for investing all of their powers in order to feed their bodies.
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)
There are friends one has to his own hurt; but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)
A person had three friends. One friend was truly beloved, a second was also loved, but the third was often taken for granted. One day the man lost everything he owned. The king commanded him to appear before him immediately. The poor man was very frightened, wondering why the king would want to speak to him. In fear, he called upon each of his three friends to go with him to the king.
First, he turned to his closet friend, and was extremely disappointed when this friend said it would be impossible to go with him to visit the king.
He then turned to his second friend. “Will you go with me to the king?” This friend said, “I can go with you only up to the gates of the palace, but that is as far as I can go.”
Extremely sad, the man then turned to her third friend, the one to whom he had taken for granted. This friend said with assurance, “I will accompany you, but first I will go directly to the palace myself and plead for you with the king.”
The first friend reflects a person’s wealth, which cannot accompany you to the grave, as it is written, “Riches profit not in the day of reckoning.” The second friend represents a person’s relatives, who can only follow you to the grave site, as it is written, “No person can redeem his brother from death.” The third and last friend represents the good deeds of a person’s life. These never desert you and even precede you to plead your cause before the King of all Kings, as it is written, “And your righteousness shall go before you.”
Adapted from Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)
for more resources for children addressing death, mourning and grieving, visit http:chevraed.org
The Emperor Hadrian was a great warrior who conquered many lands and rule the vast Roman Empire. Having achieved such power, he ordered his servants to worship him as a god. The wise men among his servants said to him that he had no power over Jerusalem and the temple.
He said, Is it not written: “The L-rd is King (Is. 33:22)
He traveled to Jerusalem and gathered his armies outside the walls of the Holy City. He called upon the people of Jerusalem to worship him as a god. Three wise men of Jerusalem came before him. One of them said: “Will you rebel against your master in His own house? Go out of His house and I will worship you as a god. For His house is heaven and earth and you are within His house. As long as you are within it I cannot worship you as a god.” The second said: “You say that you are god? G-d created heaven and earth and you too. You are nothing.” The third said: “Wait awhile, I have a message to send; after that I will worship you as a god.” Alexander said: “What is it that you must do?” The wise man replied: “A ship of mine is now on the high seas and is about to sink.” Thereupon the king said: “I will send my ships at once to rescue yours.” The sage replied: “By the time your ship arrives, mine will have sunk. Do me the kindness and send a little wind to carry it forward.” The king replied: “Where shall I get the wind?” The sage said: “If you cannot command the wind, you are not a god, for it is written that G-d:
…created heaven and earth and the people upon it’ ” (Is. 42.5).
The king went home and told his wife all that had happened to him, and asked her to worship him as a god. She replied: “I will do it gladly, but you have a deposit which has been entrusted to you. Give up the deposit and I will do your will and worship you as a G-d.” Then the king asked: “What is the deposit?” His wife replied: “The soul which G-d gave you. Return it to the owner.” The king said: “If I give back my soul, what can I do without a soul?” The wife replied: “If you have no power over yourself, how can you have power over others and be a god?” When the king heard this, he felt ashamed and gave up his evil intention.
May all your Tales end with Shalom
“Noah was a righteous man, faultless in his generation” (Gen. 6:9), but he became “a man of the soil” (Gen. 9:20) as “he planted a vineyard and he drank of the wine and became drunk…”(Gen. 9:20-1).
So many times we hear about parties where young people have fun. Part of that fun involves drinking and other behavior that they normally would not do.
Drinking can cause many problems and embarrassments as others just laugh. Many years ago our teachers of blessed memory taught:
When Noah got off of the ark one of the first things he did was to plant a vine. There was little in the world and he wanted to benefit from his grapes as soon as possible. As he began to plant the vine, a dark messenger came and stood before him and said to him: “What are you planting?” “A vine,” said he. “And what is that?” asked the dark messenger. “A vine,” explained Noah, “has fruit that is sweet both wet and dry, and from it men will make wine that makes their hearts joyful.” “Come,” said the dark messenger, “and let us both share in this wine.” “Let it be so,” said Noah.
And what did the dark messenger do? He fetched a lamb and slew it under the vine. After that he fetched a lion and slew it, and after that he fetched a an ape and slew it.. After that he fetched a pig and slew that that under the vineyard. And the blood of all these beasts dripped through that vineyard and watered it.
By this the dark messenger wished to let him know: As a person begins to drink wine, he is as innocent docile as a lamb. As he drinks more he becomes as brave as a lion and declares: There are none to compare with me in the world. When he drinks still more and becomes quite drunk, he becomes like an ape that stands and dances and plays and utters all kinds of terrible things in the presence of all people and does not have the slightest idea what he is doing. But once he drinks too much he becomes like a pig, wallowing in his own filth.
Now all those things happened to Noah the Righteous. And if it happened so with Noah the Righteous, whom the Holy and Blessed One Himself praised, how much more does it befall the rest of mankind!
May all your Tales end with Shalom
“Fear not, Abram, I am a shield for you, your reward is very great.” (Gen. 15:1).
As a young student wished to meet a holy rabbi who was looked upon as one of the gadolei hador (leaders of the generation), and learn from him.
The journey for the young student was very long and expensive, far beyond his ability to pay. Since he could not afford to travel as a passenger, he hired himself out as a Wagoner’s assistant. The driver needed someone to accompany him on the long, long trip and he welcomed the offer.
Everything was fine until the young student took a turn at the reins. Sensing a new, inexperienced driver, the horses bolted. They galloped full speed ahead. The wagon and its passengers pitched from side to side. When the wagoner had regained control of the horses, he turned furiously on his assistant:
“Don’t you know the first thing about horses? Don’t you even have enough sense to hold on to the reins, you good-for-nothing?”
And, for good measure, he gave his young assistant a number of resounding blows.
At long last, the journey was over and they had reached the village where the holy rabbi lived. And when the young man left his employer, the wagoner barely said good-bye. He was glad to be rid of his worthless assistant.
The young student made his way at once to the home of the holy rabbi lived where a different welcome awaited him. The young man’s reputation had gone before him. The more the holy rabbi spoke with him, the more impressed he became and he begged the young gaon (genius) to honor the people of the village with a lesson that Shabbos.
The news flew through the city. Everyone in the village gathered in the small wooden shul (synagogue) to hear the genius speak. And the wagoner was present, too.
When the young student walked up to the platform, the wagoner nearly fainted. He recognized the inefficient young helper who had earned his anger on the long trip. He remembered how he had scolded him, shouted at him, and even struck him! He grew flushed and pale with embarrassment as he recalled his behavior.
He trembled like a leaf throughout the lesson. After an eternity, when it was finally over, the wagoner dragged himself up to the front of the synagogue and threw himself at the feet of the young man, weeping, “Please forgive me!”
“You have nothing to feel bad about, my dear man,” the young student comforted him. “Had you scolded me about my Torah scholarship, had you struck me for being an am haaretz (ignorant boor), you would, perhaps, have been guilty of disrespect for the Torah. But you rebuked me for being a poor driver. On that account, you were perfectly justified. In truth, I know nothing about horses.”
May all your Tales end with Shalom