July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We wish that everyone would treat us the way they should. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. We may feel cheated. Does that give us the right to cheat back? In our Torah portion, Jacob spent 20 miserable years working for Laban, the deceiver. This wicked man tried every trick in the book to cheat Jacob out of everything that was rightfully coming to him. Yet we learn that not only did Jacob never try to cheat Laban back, but he went out of his way to be super-honest with every little detail of his job. We learn from Jacob the importance of doing the right thing, for its own sake—just because it’s right.

In our story a girl fights the temptation to “cheat back” when she feels cheated.


Room Service

The Emmet School’s class trip didn’t exactly work out as planned.

It rained when it was supposed to be sunny. It was sunny when it was supposed to rain. Their tour bus broke down three (!) times. But the kids tried to stay in good spirits. After all, they still had the highlight of the trip to look forward to: a night at the elegant four-star Hotel Elegante. The brochure they had received described spacious rooms with breathtaking views, an indoor swimming pool and a world-class international restaurant.

But when they got there they were in for a surprise. The rooms they stayed in were spacious—if you wanted a closet, that is. The swimming pool was “closed for repairs.” And the food… well, it made the school cafeteria seem gourmet in comparison.

The next morning, Alison and her friend Nancy, with whom Alison had been sharing a room, were packing their suitcases for the trip home.

“Well, one good thing about this place is that we’re leaving,” said Alison, as she folded her sweater.

“Yeah,” said Nancy. “This wasn’t exactly the four-star experience we had hoped for.”

“Four stars!? I wouldn’t even rate it a half-moon!” quipped her friend. The girls laughed.

Just then the phone rang. It was a call from the desk asking for someone from each room to come sign the check-out form. “I’ll go,” offered Nancy. “I’m finished packing anyway.”

Nancy walked out of the room, almost tripping on the torn carpeting. Alison heard the door click behind her friend. She was taking one last look around the room to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything, when she happened to notice a towel folded neatly next to the shower. “Did Nancy forget this?” she asked herself. Alison held the towel in her hand. It was big, fluffy and pink. The name “Hotel Elegante—An Elegant 4-Star Hotel” was embroidered across the side. “This towel is the only elegant thing about this place,” Alison muttered. She was about to put it down, then thought, “Hey, here’s my chance to get back at this dumb hotel. After all, they really took us for a ride and didn’t give us nearly the service we deserved… and paid for! At least I’ll be able to take home a souvenir.”

She quickly took the fluffy pink towel, folded it and stuffed it deep down into her suitcase. She zippered up her bag and was about to go down to the lobby to meet her friend. But the bag seemed strangely heavy to her. Heavier than it should have been by adding one little towel.

Alison realized it was her conscience that seemed to add on that weight. “Wait a minute,” she thought. “Do I really have a right to take this towel? True, the hotel didn’t treat us right, and I would never come here again. But still, stealing is stealing. If I take this, I am no better than they are.”

Alison opened up her suitcase, took out that towel and flung it on the bed behind her as she walked out of the room. “Let them keep their silly towel,” she told herself, feeling much better. “At least I’m going to do what’s right.”

Heading out to meet her friend, she picked up her suitcase, which seemed to feel much lighter now.

Nesanel Yoel Safran is a writer, chef and a teacher/student of Jewish spirituality. He blends these assorted vocations on his blog, Soul Foodie (https://soulfoodiecom.wordpress.com/), where you can join him on mystical cooking adventures and glean practical wisdom for the kitchen—and for living.

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