20 Av 5781 / Thursday, July 29, 2021 | Torah Reading: Eikev
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A Time to Shine    

A Time to Shine

A father sent his two sons to a trade convention in Nevada; they had an important job to do in representing Dad's company, but glitter of good times flashed in their faces…


Joey and Ikey dreamed of this moment.  Just yesterday they were called into the office of their father, Jacob Levy.  “Boys!” said Mr. Levy, “As you know, in two weeks the most important show in our industry will be held in Jahanam, Nevada.  Our company arranged to increase our exposure this year and have two booths, at opposite corners of the show.  I am giving each of you the opportunity to man a booth of your own.  If you do well, I will reward you for your efforts with compensation and advancement.  Some managers in the company are upset that I am choosing you, show them that they are wrong!”


Joey and Ikey excitedly started preparing for their trip.  When they arrived at the Jahanam Convention Center, they rolled up their sleeves and set up their booths.  Their hotel had everything, a synagogue, kosher meals and . . . those famous Jahanam distractions.


On the first day of the show, both boys showed real promise.  They put their hearts into their task and, thank G-d, closed a few big orders.  Joey kept thinking of different ways to improve and do an even better job.  Ikey closed bigger orders than Joey and started getting arrogant.  He forgot that success does not come from the person, it comes from Hashem.  Since “he” was doing so great, why not treat himself?  He would still do pretty well if he put in his minimal effort for the rest of the show . . . he thought.


That night, when Joey attended a Torah class set up by other religious Jews attending the event, Ikey went off on his own.  He started with a few blackjack games.  He did well on the first couple of hands but then started losing.  Some gamblers saw that he had money and invited him out with them.  It wasn’t his crowd, but he felt bad about his losses and wanted an escape.  When Joey didn’t see Ikey at the Torah class or at the hotel room, he texted Ikey.  Ikey replied “Out taking a walk”.


The next day Joey got up early, went to the synagogue and ate breakfast.  He was at his booth bright and early and steadily closed one order after another.


Ikey woke up late, missed praying at the synagogue and grabbed something to eat at his booth.  He was noticeably off.  He did not close an order the entire day.  As Ikey put all of his faith in himself, he felt depressed that “he” couldn’t close any orders that day.


Depressed, Ikey went back to the blackjack table.  His “friends” found him and dragged him out with them again.  After not seeing Ikey for the second night in a row, Joey got very concerned.  He texted Ikey. Ikey was so distracted by the cacophony of music and conversation at the bar that he did not notice Joey’s text.  He took the elevator to the Lobby of the hotel and looked around for his brother.  He saw his friend Gabriel.  “Hey Gabe, how are you doing?  I’m looking for Ikey, have you seen him?”  “Yeh, I saw him near the blackjack table earlier.” said Gabriel.  After chasing some leads Joey and Gabriel finally found Ikey very drunk at the bar.  They took him to the hotel room to sober up.


The next day was the last day of the show.  Joey and Gabriel helped Ikey get up, go to the synagogue and have a decent breakfast.  Ikey did his best to eke out a finish to the show, but did not close as many orders as would have been expected.


The boys returned home and went work the next day.  Mr. Levy called each of the boys to his office separately.  When Ikey entered the office, his father smiled at him.  “Ikey, how was the trip?” said Mr. Levy.  “Well I know that I did not accomplish what was expected, but thank G-d I closed some nice orders.” he replied.  “Ikey, did you think that I would let you boys represent our company without having someone report back your activities?”  A feeling of complete embarrassment enveloped Ikey.  He could not speak.  “Ikey, I gave you the opportunity of a lifetime, to go to the most important show in our industry.  Did you think that your distractions would not be noticed?  When you saw that things were going in the wrong direction, why didn’t you call me to ask me for help?  I didn’t send you to that show to put your interests first, but to put my interests and the interests of the company first.”


Ikey begged his father for a second chance, which he agreed to give him at the right time, but he would not be promoted and receive the bonus that his brother would get.


My dear friends, we are the brothers; sent to this world by our father Hashem.  Hashem loves us and wants to give us all of the opportunities in the world to fulfill His Goal.  We have the choice to believe in Hashem and follow the Torah and mitzvoth.  We have the choice to believe that Hashem does everything for our very best and not get distracted.  Everything we do is being recorded in Heaven.  We should not take our task lightly.  And if we fail, we should not be sad.  Our ego fools us to think that we should have accomplished.  Instead, we should just call out to Hashem.  If we put our faith in him, he can give us the ability to accomplish and raise ourselves higher and higher.  When we put our faith in ourselves, Hashem shows us that accomplishment does not come from us.   Stay focused, strengthen your heart and put your trust in Hashem!

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