"Hello, Yankie," his mother called as he came home from school.
"Hi, Mommy," replied Yankie as he fumbled with his tzitzis.
Yankie's mother looked at him in surprise. He was busy taking out his tzitzis strands which had been tucked inside his pants.
"Why are your tzitzis tucked in?" she asked him gently. "You always wear them out like a proud Jewish child should."
Yankie swallowed hard. He was clearly upset. "Mommy," he blurted out unhappily, "you know Eddie, the bully who lives up the street?"
Yankie's mother nodded with a sigh. Everyone knew Eddie. He always bullied the younger kids down the block, especially the Jewish children.
"Well, every day I have to pass his house on my way home. He always taunts me and pulls at my tzitzis, so I decided to tuck them in until I get home. Maybe he'll stop bothering me."
"Yankie," his mother said taking him gently by the arm. "Let's go get a drink and a snack, and we'll talk about this in the kitchen."
As Yankie was munching on some roasted nuts, his mother began to explain: "In this week's parshah, we read about Bnei Yisrael being enslaved in Mitzrayim. But Rashi tells us that the shevet of Levi was not enslaved."
"How come?" asked Yankie.
"Because they wouldn't give in when they were bullied. You see, the Torah tells us that at first, the Egyptians didn't make the Jewish people work hard; they just bothered them. It says, 'Viyimarraru es chayaihem' - 'And they embittered their lives.' What is a Jewish person's life? Torah and mitzvos, of course! At first, the Egyptians pestered and bothered the Jewish people about the Torah they were learning and the mitzvos they were keeping.
"Nobody likes to be bothered and bullied. There were some Jews who thought, 'If we give in a little and hide our Jewishness a bit, maybe these troublemaking Egyptians will leave us alone.' Actually, the exact opposite happened. Once they gave in, the Egyptians bullied them even more, making them work 'with hard labor, with bricks and mortar.' Because the Jewish people gave in a bit in the service of HaShem, they ended up having to serve the Egyptians with hard labor.
"Yet, Shevet Levi was different. They never gave in even a tiny bit. That's why they were left alone and were not enslaved. Pharaoh told Moshe and Aaron, 'lechu lisivlosaychem' - 'Go to your work.' Pharaoh couldn't make them do his work, and they were left to do their own work - serving HaShem as a Jew should."
(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 487)