Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3 )
What makes you a hero? A story for the family.
Jacob sets out on a fateful journey eastward to find a wife and also to escape from his wicked brother Esau who wants to kill him. He finally arrives at the land of his ancestors and stops at a well. There he meets Rachel, the daughter of Laban. Rachel is very beautiful inside and out, and Jacob longs to marry her. But Laban is an evil and deceitful man. He plots to trick Jacob. First, Laban says yes to the match but only if Jacob will work for him seven years first. Jacob agrees, but after seven long years, Laban has more tricks up his sleeve. He wants to fool Jacob into marrying his older daughter Leah instead of Rachel. Meanwhile, Jacob and Rachel realize that Laban might try something sneaky, so they make a secret sign between themselves for the wedding night so Jacob will know for sure that it’s really Rachel. But at the last minute Rachel realizes how humiliated her sister Leah is going to be when Jacob asks her for the secret sign and she doesn’t know. So Rachel sacrifices her own chance to marry Jacob, whom she loves, and tells Leah the sign. The marriage takes place and only the next day does Jacob realize that Laban has tricked him. But it’s too late -- he is married to Leah not to Rachel. Laban tells him he can also marry Rachel if he’ll work for him another seven years. Jacob agrees out of his love for Rachel, and knowledge that they are destined to be together.
Rachel gave up her chance to marry Jacob so her sister Leah wouldn't be embarrassed. In this story, a young athlete makes a choice and becomes...
A REAL HERO
The score was 'LIONS 3, GLADIATORS 0' with only one minute left in the ice-hockey championship game. Larry Falk, the Lions' goalie had played the best game of his life. He hadn't let the other team score even one goal. The game was almost over, and Larry was the hero.
But Larry noticed something strange going on by the bench where the other team was sitting. Mr. Edom, the Gladiators' coach was having a fit. “It's bad enough that you're going to lose the game,” he was screaming at his players. “But to get shut out, to not even score one goal! If you guys don't score a point before the game is over you're all riding home in a van that has a big sign that has LOSERS painted all over it. The whole state will know that you're a bunch of losers!”
Larry couldn't believe his ears. “How could a coach do that to his own players? How could he humiliate them like that?” he thought.
When the game re-started, Larry had to think fast. He saw the center from the other team racing toward him, hoping to score a goal. He also noticed the worried look on his opponent's face, knowing what would happen to him and his teammates if he failed.
The boy took his shot. “No problem,” thought Larry, “I can stop this shot easily.” But something inside him said, “Let them score the goal. Don't let them be embarrassed.” He quickly moved out of the way and let the puck fly into the net.
“SCORE!!!” the announcer shouted, and the crowd went wild.
But the happiest person in the whole arena was Larry. His team had won the game. Even though he had given up the honor of a shut-out, he knew he helped save the other team from embarrassment. And to him, that was the biggest 'save' of his career.
Q. Larry would have been a big hero if he didn't let the other team score any goals. So why did he let them score?
A. He didn't want them to be embarrassed -- that was more important to him than a shut-out.
Q. Was it right what the Gladiators' coach did? Why or why not?
A. The Gladiator's coach was wrong. It's wrong to embarrass people even if you're angry.
Q. Was it good what Larry did? Why or why not?
A. Larry did a good thing. He saw that the other team's players would be humiliated by their coach if they didn't at least score one goal. By letting them score, even though he gave up his shut-out, he saved their honor. Another person's honor is as important as our own, and sometimes even more important.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Larry gave up a lot for the sake of his opponents' honor. How much do you think a person should be willing to give up in order not to embarrass somebody else?
Q. What would you do if you knew that your friend did something wrong and would be punished if found out? Would you:
a) tell the truth and let your friend be humiliated,
b) keep the secret,
c) take the blame yourself?