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Malachi's friends

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Boredom leads to sin and too much free time is dangerous. This assertion of our Sages is applicable to summer vacation and to Parashat Korach: The rebellion of Korach occurs after the people have been punished with having to wander forty years in the desert. At the moment when they understand that they have an abundance of time on their hands but lack a sense of purpose, weakness sets in and rebellion starts.

But there is an alternative way to handle a suddenly available stretch of time as I learned from Itay Bashan, who wrote me as follows:

"Shalom Sivan, I am a teacher at the Ohel Shiloh School. We were also on strike this week, but it was amazing to see how our students utilized their time.

Malachi is an especially sweet student of ours who stands out because of an identifying feature. He must always wear a helmet because he suffers from severe epileptic seizures. Recently his condition worsened to the point that his life is now in danger. He switched schools because of this and must now travel to the United States for complex surgical procedures which, with God's help, will save him.

His family is now raising a million and a half shekels for his treatment and here our students entered the picture. Throughout the days of the strike, they went door to door to solicit donations. They also washed cars, collected bottles to recycle, and sold food in order to raise funds for Malachi, shekel by shekel.

Boredom can lead to idleness, yet when children have a purpose, as long as they are given a little push to take action, they can be more enthusiastic and enterprising than we adults will ever be. In my view, this is a magnificent lesson to take with us as we enter summer vacation.

May Malachi enjoy a speedy and complete recovery and may everyone benefit from a fruitful vacation this summer."


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