INSIGHT: Pick up the Sticks!

The Nitzavim Lesson: Stand Strong or Split and Snap!

The Nitzavim Lesson: Stand Strong or Split and Snap!

Nitzavim means more than just “standing.” It’s “standing strong” — united as one.

Time for another Shazak Scenario: (Great!… another one!)

Old Abie Altmentch was getting very old. One day (probably a Thursday, but some people say it was Friday), he called his kids to his bedside.

“Listen up, Kinderlach. I don’t know how much longer I will be in this world but I have an important message for you.”

Old Abie opened up an old box of “pick-up sticks,” took out all 45 sticks and handed them to his son, Yehudah who was as strong as a lion.

“Yehudah… roll up your sleeves and break these sticks.”

“Sure dad! No problem. Grrrrrrr! Give me a minute. Aaaagh! I can do it! Let me take a deep breath. OOOOOOOMPH!”

As hard as he tried, with all his “Grrrrrrrs, Aaaaghs, and OOOOOOOMPHs, Yehudah could not break the pack of “pick-up sticks.”

“Dad,” he finally admitted, “I give up.”

Mr. Altmentch did something strange. He took five “pick-up sticks” and handed them to the oldest child. Five more went to the next child. And another five to the next. And so it went until each of his nine children was holding five “pick-up sticks.”

“Now,” he wheezed, “I want you each to break the sticks you have in your hands.”

Snap! Crack! Boom! Within seconds, every “pick-up-stick” in the room was cracked in half!

“You see, my dear children,” continued the old man, “when the sticks are together they are strong and unbreakable, but as soon as they separate, they are weak, and easy to break.

“Dad, say no more. We get the idea. As long as we “stick” together and support each other, nothing in the world can break us!”

“Great Lesson!”

Indeed, the lesson is a great one for all of us. As long as we Jews stand by one another with Ahavas Yisrael and Torah values, we are standing super strong… INVISIBLE INVINCIBLE… Nitzavim!

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Shazak insight

Pick up the Sticks!

Pick-Up-Sticks, also called Jackstraws or Mikado, is a very popular game of skill. The players sit around a pile of sticks and try to remove one at a time, without moving any of the other sticks. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins.

Who invented this great game and when?

When? Nobody knows for sure, but it sure is ancient. In fact, instead of the wood or plastic sticks we are used to, it was once played with ivory, bamboo and even straw.

Who? Some guess that the inventors were the Native Americans and others think that it originated in China. Others think it was Irving (just joking).

Regardless, Pick-Up-Sticks is world famous. In Israel, it’s called “dookim,” in Spanish “palitos chinos,” and in case you’re wondering, in Swedish it’s “plockepinn” (sounds like “pluck a pin”).

SHAZAK
Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Don't forget to check out Parsha at a Glance for a fun and quick overview of the Parsha.
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