A young man was sitting at the airport gate, waiting for his flight home. After realizing that his flight was delayed, he bought a book and a small bag of chocolate chip cookies to enjoy while he waited. As he sat reading, he noticed an older man sitting next to him reading a book, as well. He was about to turn back to his book when he noticed the older man reach into the bag of cookies that lay between their seats and take a cookie. Shocked, he pointedly took a cookie from the bag and began eating it. “The nerve,” he thought. “He didn’t even ask.” The older man just looked at him and smiled, taking another cookie and eating it as he continued reading. He said nothing, but inside he could feel himself starting to get angry. For each cookie he took, the older man took one, too. This continued until there was only one cookie left. He sat there fuming, debating whether or not to say anything, when the older man did the unthinkable. He picked up the cookie, split it in half, and handed him a piece. Well, that was it! He was so infuriated by the older man’s lack of consideration that he packed up his things and moved. His flight was called soon after, so he gladly boarded and began settling in for the flight. As he opened his bag to take out his book, he felt his heart sink. There, at the bottom of his bag, was his bag of cookies.

Marriage? Romantic. The source?
Not so much! 

The Torah describes that a man gets married by “taking” a wife (D’varim 24:1). What does “taking” entail? Chazal note the appearance of that same word, “taking,” by Avraham’s purchase of M’aras HaMachpeilah to bury Sarah (B’reishis 23:13). Based on context, Chazal conclude that the Torah’s definition of “taking” involves handing over money. This is the source that a man can betroth a woman by giving her money, or any object of value (e.g., a ring).

A young boy once went to the circus and was astonished when he saw a giant elephant tethered to the ground by a thin rope. Curious, he walked over to the elephant trainer and asked: “How are you holding down such a huge elephant with such a tiny rope? The rope doesn’t look very strong. This elephant could break down a brick wall, why doesn’t he break free of this tiny rope?”

An older couple sat together on the train, quietly chatting as they rode through the countryside. Their peace was suddenly disturbed by a fully-grown boy sitting across from them. “Dad, look!” The boy exclaimed to his father. “Giant green trees are going past us!” The boy must have been almost 20 years old and had a huge smile glued to his face. His father smiled along, almost encouraging his outburst. The couple looked at the boy’s childish behavior with a pitiful glance, before going back to their conversation. Suddenly, the boy erupted with excitement again and shouted, “Dad, look at the clouds running along with us in the sky!”

Breakups are never easy

This week’s parshah tells the story of Avraham and his nephew Lot. For many years, the two had lived together in harmony, until a bitter fight broke out between their respective shepherds. As the fighting escalated, the once-close relatives decided that the land was not big enough for both of them, and ultimately they decided to part ways.