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

When people feel they are being unfairly taken advantage of, they often think their only choice is either to react angrily or just give in and take it. But this week’s Torah portion shows us there is a third way. When Jacob’s son, Judah, thought that the viceroy of Egypt was being unfair to him and his brothers, he firmly stood his ground against him, and remained calm and respectful at the same time. It is an important lesson to learn how to stand up for our rights without making a fight.

In our story a kid shows her friends how it’s possible to stand your ground without losing your cool.

Off the Rack

It was a cold, windy day. But that didn’t stop Laurie Kline and her friends, Cindy and Jan, from slowing down in front of the stores they passed to do some serious window shopping as they walked home from school.

“Hey guys, check out that sign, ‘Pure Wool Designer Scarves 50% Off,’ ” said Cindy, pointing to the clothing store across the street.

“Just what we need on a day like today!” Jan said, as the three of them turned on their heels and made a beeline for the store.

The scarves were all so nice that it took the kids a while to make up their minds. Usually scarves like these would be way out of their budget. But at half-price they figured, why not? Finally, with choices in hand, they came up to the sales counter.

“That’ll be $25,” said the store owner behind the counter, as he began to wrap up the purple plaid scarf Jan had picked out.

“Um, that’s the ticket price,” she corrected him. “They are all half-price, right?”

The man hardly looked up. “They were half-price, kid. The sale ended yesterday.”

Jan’s face dropped with great disappointment. “Oh,” she said softly, thinking about all the time they just wasted picking out their scarves.

As Jan turned to put the scarf back on the shelf, Cindy started yelling. “Wait just one minute! Jan, don’t you go anywhere! That’s false advertising!” With her face turning all red, she said to the man, “You have a big sign in the window saying these scarves are on sale!”

The man shot back, “How dare you accuse me like that? I told you the sale’s over. I just forgot to take down the sign this morning.”

“Come on, Cindy,” whispered Jan, “It doesn’t matter; forget it. Let’s just go.”

But Cindy wasn’t backing down. “Oh, yeah, sure. What a rip-off!” she said even louder, causing some of the other customers to turn their heads. “I’m never going to set foot in this store again and I’m going to tell everyone I know not to shop here either, unless you give us the sale price.”

“Troublemakers,” the storeowner muttered, with a face as red as Cindy’s. He turned his back on her and began to wait on another customer.

“Come on, guys, let’s get out of here,” Cindy said, indignantly.

She and Jan began to walk out, but Laurie stayed in line. “Aren’t you coming?” Jan asked her.

“You’re not going to still buy that, are you?” added Cindy, loudly.

“Guys if you don’t mind, can I meet you in a minute?” Laura said.

Her friends shrugged and walked out the door. Now it was Laura’s turn in line.

“You heard me tell your friend it’s full price?” asked the man. Laurie nodded. “Then that’s what you are ready to pay, right?”

“No,” said Laurie, calmly. “I believe that you forgot to take down the sign, but it’s still not right.”

The store owner looked at her quizzically. “You also want to make trouble?” he said.

Laurie shook her head. “We came in here especially because of the sale sign. We didn’t come here to make trouble. We like this store and buy a lot of things here, but I really think it’s only fair that you give us the sale price until you take the sign down…”

Meanwhile, Jan and Cindy were trying to stay warm in the parking lot. “Where’s Laurie?” asked Jan.

“I don’t know,” Cindy replied. “Let’s go get her.”

They headed back toward the store, but met Laurie coming out the door. She was holding a bag.

“You actually bought the scarf?” asked Cindy.

“Uh-huh.”

“You mean you paid the full price?” Jan asked.

“Nope, the sale price.” Laurie smiled. “And here,” she said, pulling out the other two scarves with a flourish. “You got the sale price, too!”

“But how?” asked Jan.

“She must have really screamed and let him have it, right Laurie?” Cindy said, but Laurie waved her off.

“Nope. I didn’t scream and I didn’t fight. I just stayed polite, but I told him what I thought was right. It usually works best, you know.”


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. https://soulfoodiecom.wordpress.com/

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