July 10, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 10, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

George and Georgia had similar names. However, as students, they could not be any different. George was a really hard worker. He studied many hours for every test, wrote down everything his teacher said (“George Washington was the first president, no, you may not go get a drink, you had time during the break…”) and has his parents, brothers, sisters and goldfish check his homework each night.

Georgia was completely different. She could listen in class with one ear (or even no ears!) and remember everything the teacher said. Once, she slept through an entire class and still got an A on the quiz the next day without having to learn the material again. She never had to study, and finished her homework in the four minutes it took to drive home from school (she even had time for a nap if they hit a red light.)

One day, their teacher, Mr. Piano, made a big announcement: There was going to be a test on the history of pizza and the student with the highest grade would receive an all-you-can-eat pizza lunch. “You can eat pizza until cheese comes out of your nose and sauce comes out of your ears!” exclaimed Mr. Piano.

The class was buzzing with excitement. Who would be the winner? Who would get the sauce ears? Well, Georgia had no doubt it would be her; she always got the best grades! George, on the other hand, was nervous. He began studying immediately, even forgetting to go home because he was concentrating so hard!

The next day, Mr. Piano walked in to find George sleeping at his desk. George awoke with a start! “Mr. Piano? What are you doing in my room.” Mr. Piano laughed. “Um, George, this is kind of my room.” George looked around. “Oh my gosh! The test!” George immediately went back to studying until the test began.

With 10 minutes left of the test, Georgia walked into class. She went straight to her desk, picked up her test, and completed all the questions in eight minutes (she even had time for a two-minute nap). The students all handed their tests in and awaited the results.

The following day, Mr. Piano came into class and announced he had the tests and the winner. “First,” said Mr. Piano, “I want you to look at your grades. Then I will announce the winner.”

Neither George nor Georgia would look at their tests, but for different reasons. Georgia was so confident she would win, she didn’t feel the need to look. George was too nervous. However, after picking up the corner of the test multiple times and putting it down, he finally gave in and saw a beautiful sight: a big “98” was sitting on the top of his page! Now George knew he had a chance!

Mr. Piano then made the big announcement: “The winner of the all-you-can-eat pizza lunch is….George!” Georgia was stunned. She was sure her test was perfect! But then she noticed a question on the back of her test that she missed. No wonder! Either way, Georgia flipped her test over to see the grade: 98. She went over to George to congratulate him, but was shocked to find out he also received a 98! Why did he win? She had the same grade!

“Mr. Piano!” called Georgia, “this isn’t right! I also have the same grade!” Mr. Piano was not convinced. “I see that, but George is still the winner.” Georgia did not give up: “Can we at least split the meal? I can have the sauce coming out of my ears and George can have the cheese coming out of his nose.” Her arguments did not work. Georgia was confused. “Well, Mr. Piano, can you at least explain your decision?” Mr. Piano was happy to. “It begins with this week’s parsha…”

In Parshat Toldot we are told how Eisav and Yaakov received their names. יעקב was holding on to the עקב—heel—of Eisav. Eisav’s name comes from the root word ״,עשה״ which means “to make” or “to form.” This is because Eisav was born fully formed in some ways, looking like a grown man. Although these details seem insignificant, they are actually very important. They teach us that Yaakov and Eisav represent two different types of people:

Eisav is the person who has everything handed to him. He is born without having to change or grow. He wants to hunt, eat, and do it again the next day. To Eisav, hard work isn’t worth it. He doesn’t want to improve or change; he just wants life to go on as planned and be easy.

Yaakov, on the other hand, is the worker, the struggler. He begins his life grabbing on to his goal and spends his entire life fighting and working to get to where he belongs. His brother tries to kill him, he works for seven years for a wife who is then taken away from him until another seven years are completed. He fights with Eisav’s angel and wins, but is injured. But Yaakov is our hero. He becomes Israel, the father of our great nation.

We learn from this the importance of hard work. It matters much more how hard you work and how much you are willing to change and grow to become better. Let us all be like Yaakov, who spends his whole life working to be the best he can be, and not like Eisav who just wants it to be simple.


Yair Daar is an assistant principal and the resident parsha storyteller at Yeshivat He’Atid. He can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles