“Oh Mommy,” groaned Ari, “I’m so bored. Being stuck in bed with a broken leg is no fun at all.”

Ari’s mother nodded sympathetically. “I agree, Ari. Still, there is a lot of good a person can do even if he stays in one place.”

“Like what? If I could go out, I would have more fun, and be able to do much more for you, too. I could go shopping for you or pick up Zevi from school. What good can I do when I have to stay in bed?”

Ari’s mother sat down next to him. “You know, Ari, there’s a lesson in this week’s parshah which might help you think about things you can do. Parshas Toldos tells us about the life of Yitzchak. We read about a famine in Eretz Yisrael, just like in the days of Avraham.”

“I remember learning about that,” recalled Ari. “Yitzchak thought about traveling to Mitzrayim like his father did, but HaShem told him not to leave Eretz Yisrael.”

“Have you ever wondered about that?” asked Ari’s mother. “After all, both Avraham and Yaakov journeyed in and out of Eretz Yisrael. But HaShem told Yitzchak to stay put.”

Ari thought for a moment. “I really don’t know, Mommy. I remember learning how Avraham and Yaakov did many important things on their journeys.”

“You see, Ari, there is a lot of good a person can do when he goes outside to be involved with other people. Still, by telling Yitzchak to stay in Eretz Yisrael, HaShem is teaching us that there is a lot a Jew can — and should — do by staying in one place. Instead of being involved with many outside things like Avraham and Yaakov were, Yitzchak concentrated on working with the inner strength that HaShem gave him.”

“Maybe that’s why the Torah tells us about all the wells he dug,” suggested Ari. “It’s like digging into yourself and trying to bring out what you have inside.”

“That is a very good thought,” Ari’s mother complimented him, patting his head proudly. “And if you remember what happened later, you’ll see how working with the inside influences things on the outside too. Avimelech, king of the Plishtim, had argued with Yitzchak and caused trouble. But later he came to Yitzchak with the general of his army and asked for his friendship, telling him: “We realize that you are blessed by HaShem.”

“We can see how much influence Yitzchak had on the outside even while he stayed inside concentrating on what he had within.”

“You just got me thinking, Mommy,” Ari said excitedly. “There really is a lot I can do in here.”

“Good for you, Ari! I’m happy that you’re going to start working with what you have inside. And I’m going to straighten up this room for you, because your digging inside is bound to influence the outside, and I wouldn’t want anyone to come in now.”

“Not even Avimelech, king of the Plishtim!” Ari laughed.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXV, Parshas Toldos)