Toras Avigdor Junior
Tuesday morning, Talmud Torah Bnei Avigdor
“Look at this!” exclaimed Dovy. “I have 50,000 candy wrappers!”
“And we collected 75,000!” said Shimmy and Yitzy.
The boys excitedly tallied up the number of Munz candy wrappers they had all collected. Jolly Munz Candy Company was having an amazing contest where if you collected enough candy wrappers you could win ginormous prizes.
For fifty wrappers, you could get a frisbee that lights up when you throw it. For two hundred wrappers, you could win a drone made out of candy. There were so many prizes! But the best prize in the advertisement was an entire truckload of candies – enough to last a lifetime! You could win that if you brought in one million wrappers!
As the boys piled their candy wrappers together, Yanky added the numbers on his notepad. “That’s it!” he cried out. “We have 1.13 million wrappers!”
“Yes!” exclaimed Eli. But suddenly he frowned. “Where are we going to keep a truckload of candy?”
“That’s not a problem,” said Ari Holtzbacher. “My bedroom is larger than a truck. There’s plenty of room there for the candy.”
School didn’t start for another ten minutes so Shimmy borrowed Rebbi Caplan’s phone and called the number listed on the advertisement. After a minute, he hung up the phone, looking devastated.
“What’s wrong? What did they say?” all the boys asked eagerly.
Shimmy looked close to tears. “They said the truckload of candy was a joke – they didn’t expect anyone to collect that many wrappers. And then they said that they ran out of all of the other prizes so we can’t trade in what we have, even for drones or frisbees.”
The boys were shattered by this terrible news. They had spent so much time collecting candy wrappers – all for nothing!
As the boys talked, they came up with a plan. Jolly Munz had advertised a truckload of candies as a prize and they had earned it fair and square. If the company wouldn’t give them the candy, the boys would all go to the factory at night and take the candy that belonged to them – millions of candies!
“Kinderlach, can I have my phone back?” The boys jumped at the sound of Rebbi Caplan’s voice. He didn’t look pleased.
As Shimmy handed his Rebbi’s phone back to him, Rebbi Caplan said “I cannot believe what I just heard. Were you boys really planning on breaking into a business and stealing, like a bunch of ganovim? This is terrible – I don’t know what to think!”
The boys looked sheepishly at the floor.
“I’ll have to talk to the menahel about how we should deal with this,” Rebbi Caplan said, just as the bell rang.
Ari Holtzbacher jumped up at the sound of the doorbell and opened the door. He was shocked to see Rebbi Caplan standing there.
“Uh, hi Rebbi, come in!” Ari said hurriedly, a bit nervous.
Rebbi Caplan and Ari walked into the living room. Ari’s father, Anshel Holtzbacher was sitting at the table learning.
“Hello, Mr Holtzbacher, I came to discuss an important matter with your son. Ari,” said Rebbi Caplan. “I need to talk to you about what you and your friends were planning to do at the candy factory. I’m very disappointed in you. I expected a lot better of such a special boy like you are.”
“But Rebbi,” said Ari. “It wasn’t just me, it was all of the boys!”
“Did you ever wonder why Yosef Hatzadik specifically threw Shimon into jail?” asked Rebbi Caplan. “It’s because he was held the most responsible for mechiras Yosef.
“Shimon, as the oldest one who was there at the time, had the most influence on the younger brothers and therefore he was considered accountable for not stopping them.
“Ari, you know you are the most popular boy in the cheider. Whenever you say something everyone listens. Had you said ‘no, we are not going to break into the candy factory’, everyone would have listened to you. That’s why I came to speak with you, don’t underestimate how important you are.”
Anshel Holtzbacher looked up. “Ari, your rebbi is right,” he said. “A similar thing happened to me years ago. Some Horki chasidim in our shul were doing something they shouldn’t have done and the Horki Rebbi said then that he held me responsible even though I didn’t do it, just because I was there and could have told them to stop. When someone is in a position of power we need to be ever vigilant about what our actions or even non–actions can impact.”
Ari thought about this. “Wow, I never considered that,” he said. “From now on, I will remember that I am extra responsible to make sure that I influence my friends positively whenever possible.”
Have A Wonderful Shabbos!