July 19, 2024
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July 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It happens all the time. We borrow something from someone, or someone borrows something from us. But what if something breaks… who’s responsible, and under what circumstances? This week’s fascinating Torah portion discusses lending, borrowing and other money matters and teaches us the fair and the right thing to do in all these situations.

In our story a kid who borrows something struggles to “return” to the truth.


Borrowed Blues

“Can I borrow your bike, Joel, just for a little while?”

“My bike? Yeah, I guess so. But just for half an hour, and be careful with it, OK, Andy?”

“No problem, you got it. Thanks!”

With that, Andy took off on the bike. Freedom at last! He’d been waiting a whole week for his bike to be fixed. He’d been eyeing his neighbor Joel’s bike longingly, until finally he got up the nerve to ask—and the kid agreed!

And now he was off. He didn’t have anything special to do; he just loved the ride. Andy was cruising along, faster and faster, whipping by trees and telephone poles like they weren’t even there. He knew he was going faster than Joel would want him to, but it just felt so good! Then suddenly he felt a bump and heard a strange popping sound coming from the back wheel.

He got control and stopped the bike, jumped off and bent down to have a look. “Just my luck,” he groaned. In his great enthusiasm—and high speed—he rode over a board he didn’t notice lying in his path. One of the nails sticking up from the board somehow got stuck in the tire. But Andy was familiar with bikes, and he knew that this type of leak wouldn’t blow out the tire for a good while.

So he got back on the bike and soon his struggle began.

“Joel will never know that it was me who got the nail stuck in the tire. He rides it all the time. When it goes flat a couple of days from now, he’ll think it was his own fault.” Andy thought that argument sounded pretty good—until another voice inside piped up and said:

“But that’s not the truth. The truth is that I should have been more careful. It was because I was going so fast and I wasn’t paying attention that I ran over the nail. Why should he have to pay when I was the one who caused it to get flat?”

Andy’s face started to pucker a little, like he was eating something sour, as the first voice returned:

“But still, why should I care? It’s not my bike. Plus, it’ll probably cost me a month of allowance to pay for it. Better to just forget it.” He nearly convinced himself to drop the whole thing when a clear picture of his super-honest father’s disappointed face appeared in front of him, quoting one of his favorite sayings, “You borrow it, you’re responsible for it.”

“C’mon, guy,” Andy chided himself, finally. “Enough excuses. Just do the right thing.”

He turned the bike around and headed back to Joel’s house.

“Here you go, pal,” said Andy. “And, um, here’s ten dollars. I ran over a nail while I was riding and you’ll need to replace the tube. Sorry about that…”

Just then Joel’s little brother, Kenny, came running in out of breath. “Hey, Joel! Did you lend your bike to Andy? I just saw him run over a huge board with all kinds of nails sticking out. For sure it got ruined!”

To everyone’s great relief—especially Andy, who would have been in real hot water right now if he’d tried to blow it off—the matter had already been taken care of.

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

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