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

Josh’s mother nodded sympathetically. “I agree, Josh. 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 Sarit from school. What good can I do when I have to stay in bed?”

Josh’s mother sat down next to him. “You know, Josh, there’s a lesson in this week’s Torah portion which might help you think about things you can do. The Torah portion of Toldot tells us about the life of Isaac. We read about a famine in Israel, just like in the days of Abraham.”

“I remember learning about that in Hebrew School,” recalled Josh. “Isaac thought about traveling to Egypt like his father did, but G‑d told him not to leave Israel.”

“Have you ever wondered about that?” asked Josh’s mother. “After all, both Abraham and Jacob journeyed in and out of Israel. But G‑d told Isaac to stay put.”

Josh thought for a moment. “I really don’t know, Mom. I remember learning how Abraham and Jacob did many important things on their journeys.”

“You see, Josh, there is a lot of good a person can do when he goes outside to be involved with other people. Still, by telling Isaac to stay in Israel, G‑d is teaching us that there is a lot a person can — and should — do by staying in one place. Instead of being involved with many outside things like Abraham and Jacob were, Isaac concentrated on working with the inner strength that G‑d gave him.”

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

"Very good thought,” Josh’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. Abimelech, king of the Philistines, had argued with Isaac and caused trouble. But later he came to Isaac with the general of his army and asked for his friendship, telling him: 'We realize that you are blessed by G‑d.'

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

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

“Good for you, Josh! 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 Abimelech, king of the Philistines!” Josh laughed.