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Ned and Moe

Ned and Moe were friends for fifty years, and every weekend they went fishing. One day, Moe drowned off the fishing boat, and Ned had the difficult task of telling Moe's widow that Ned had died.

"Explain to me again exactly what happened, tell me every single detail, go over it again," Moe's wife kept saying.

Ned went over it one more time. "Moe went overboard first. I held out my hand and called out to him. He kicked and flailed but he never once reached out for my arm."

"Tell me more. Tell me every detail."

"That's it. I reached out my hand. I screamed and screamed. He just kept kicking and splashing and he never reached out. All he had to do was reach out and take my hand."

"Tell me again. Go over what happened in every detail."

"He went overboard. The boat rocked. I reached out. He was flailing his arms, gasping for air, bobbing up and down. I screamed, 'Moe! Give me your hand!' as I reached as far as I could overboard. He saw me but he just kept gyrating and flailing. 'Moe! Give me your hand!' I screamed."

"Wait a minute... what did you say to him?" interrupted the wife.

"I told you. I screamed out to him over and over, 'Moe! Give me your hand!'"

"That's it! That's why he drowned!" she exclaimed.

"What? What did I do?" asked Ned, puzzled.

Moe's wife cried, "My husband NEVER GAVE ANYBODY ANYTHING IN HIS LIFE! You said 'Give me your hand!' If you had said 'Take my hand' then Moe would have reached out and took your hand and he would be alive today!"

The word Terumah in the Parsha refers to charity, but the word itself comes from a word meaning to elevate. When we give charity we are elevated to a higher level. We become better people. We learn to give and survive with less. We learn what it means to be part of a bigger cause in an unselfish way. People respond differently to us and we respond differently to them. All our relationships change as a result.

- Based on a story heard from Mr. Block at Aish Hatorah One-on-one Learning at Ave. J 2/16/99

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