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"And it shall be that if you come with us, then with the goodness with which Hashem will benefit us, we will do good to you" (Bemidbar 10:32).

Moshe Rabbeinu entreated his father in law, Yisro, to go with the Children of Israel to the Land of Israel. He promised him that although he is a convert and not part of the twelve tribes of Israel, nevertheless he would be given a share in the Holy Land. Rashi brings the words of the Talmud that, indeed, the children of Yisro were given the most fertile part of Jericho, an area of 500 by 500 cubits, until the Holy Temple was built.

In retrospect, Yisro made out very well. From being a priest of idolaters, he became the father in law of the leader of Israel and his children received a very good portion of the Land of Israel. But one should never forget that this greatness did not come to him and his family so easily. When they began to recognize the true Creator of the World and to serve Him Alone, they were subjected to much shame and persecution by their countrymen. Yet they withstood all of their trials and tribulations for the sake of the truth for which they would not compromise. And eventually they were rewarded with pride in place of shame and honor in place of persecution. All of this was in this world; one can only imagine their reward in the World-to-Come.

I believe it was Reb Shalom Shvadron zt"l who used to tell a story about a man who finally achieved his goal and became manager of a bank. He sat proudly in his booth with the word "Manager" prominently displayed on a sign at the entrance. He loved his position and he finally loved life.

Only one thing bothered him. The bank was situated in a secular neighborhood and the vast majority of customers were non-observant. Although he was Orthodox, he knew that it would not be appropriate for him to wear a kippah on his head during working hours. After consulting with someone, he came to the conclusion that if his job was in jeopardy, he could refrain from donning the head covering while at work.

After a few days of uneasiness, he got used to sitting at work with his head uncovered most of the time. However, he was faced with a real dilemma when he finished eating the sandwich his dear wife sent him along for lunch every day. He definitely wanted to recite the Birkas Hamazon (blessing after eating bread) but how could he do that without a kippah? Every day he battled with himself: one day he recited the whole prayer with his head uncovered; one day he skipped the prayer; one day he made believe he was scratching his hair and covered his head briefly as he said an abridged version of the prayer; and one day he just skipped lunch and went home very hungry.

He prayed to Hashem for guidance and help on this super-sensitive issue. And one day his prayers were answered.

A prominent, rich man, who owned a chain of stores, came to the bank with a bag full of coins to deposit in his account. Usually he sent one of his many workers, but today, for some reason, he came himself. Everyone stared at the man who was well known as one of the most affluent and honorable people around. But somehow, a strange thing happened. The bag of money fell out of the man's hands and the coins, of all denominations, were scattered all over the floor. To his amazement, the manager watched as the rich man, with absolutely no hesitation, fell to the floor and, while on all fours, began picking up the coins, one by one, and replacing them in the bag in his hand. The manager contemplated the scene and noticed that the man didn't seem to feel even the least bit embarrassed; nor did all of the customers who watched him regard the scene as odd. Everyone seemed to be of one accord; when something is important to you, you do whatever must be done to achieve and retain it.

At that very moment, the manger took his kippah out of his pocket and placed it prominently upon his head. Oddly, he did not feel the tiniest bit ashamed. On the contrary, he actually felt proud to display his religion, which happened to be the most important thing to him in his life. But the strangest thing of all was that in all of the years that he worked for the bank, until he retired, not one person commented upon his attire which was alien to them. They realized, apparently, that this man, like the fellow who dropped the coins, was merely doing what he knew had to be done for what he felt was important.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel