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Ki Savo

"Because you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, amid gladness and goodness of heart, when everything was abundant:" (Devarim 28:47).

One of the foundations of Judaism is that everything that Hashem does is only for one's good. Even punishments are never an act of G-d's revenge. They are meant to purify one of his sins so that he can then be pure and eligible for his reward for his righteous deeds.

But even more than that; sometimes things which seem t be not to our liking are really blessings in disguise. Sometimes, it takes many years for us to understand what really happened and sometimes we only find out in the World-to-Come. But sometimes we are lucky enough to find out right away what really went on.

The following story, recorded in Aleynu Leshabeach, is an example of good things that came in a seemingly bad package.

Moshe was a Torah scholar who learned in a Kolel and managed with a small stipend. Although he loved learning, as his family grew it became more and more difficult to support them properly. Finally, he had no choice but to get a job. Being a very capable fellow, combined with an abundance of Torah wisdom, he was hired as a manager in a prominent office. However, after hours he would go straight to the Beish Midrash to learn as much Torah as he could until the late hours of the night.

Economic problems caused Moshe's bosses to make budget cuts which included firing staff. Although all around him people were being put off, Moshe never even imagined that his position was in jeopardy too. After all, he thought to himself, a business can function with one or two workers less but not without a manager. And besides, due to his religious convictions, he was one of the most dedicated and honest workers they had. Surely no one would ever fire him.

But one bleak morning, he opened the mail and there it was: a pink slip informing him that his position was being terminated immediately. He couldn't believe his eyes and he decided that in spite of the notice he would go to the office and argue his case. Perhaps he could convince his superiors that this move was counter to their vital interests.

But as he headed for his car, he was struck with the second fatal blow of the morning. His brand new car which he had just bought a few days ago and had not yet even transferred his insurance to was stolen.

If Moshe might have entertained the thought that being fired was a "natural" event which he should deal with in a "natural" way, the fact that two major tragedies hit him within half an hour could not be seen as anything else but the Hand of Hashem. It was obvious to Moshe that Hashem had some plans for him and it was his job to cooperate with the Hashgacha (Divine Providence) rather than fight it.

Moshe changed his mind about going to the office to try to get his job back. Instead, he headed straight to the Beis Midrash opened his Gemara and began to learn. Before the afternoon break, Moshe had already organized his new daily schedule, which, included chavrusos (learning partners) to study with all day long, just like in the "good old days."

Two days later, Moshe received a registered letter from an American Torah organization, responding to his application and asking him to visit its Jerusalem branch for an interview. Moshe did not recognize the name of the organization and could not recall applying to it for anything. Nevertheless, he continued cooperating with the Hashgacha and went for the interview. When he arrived, he was surprised to be presented with a letter he had sent them 18 years ago when he had begun learning in the kolel. At that time, this organization had advertised that it was seeking a reliable Torah scholar who was capable of running a massive multi-faceted Torah research project. Moshe had applied but had never even received an answer. The interviewer explained that at that time, the members of the organization had researched Moshe's background extensively and had received very positive information which they had entered into his file. However, the organization had then disbanded, was reestablished and disbanded again. Consequently, no one had ever contacted him. However, just recently an impressive group of philanthropists had founded it anew and they were very serious about getting that project started. They began going through the old files and his was the most impressive by far.

As Moshe listened, more than a bit stunned, he realized that this meeting must have some connection with the events of a few days ago. The interviewer continued to tell him that the organization he represents is ready to hire him immediately and sign a contract offering him a comfortable salary for several years so that he would be able to completely immerse himself into the project which required intense concentration of a sincere Torah scholar. When Moshe asked how much they were offering, he was shocked to hear that the amount exceeded his salary as an office manager.

However, the interviewer continued to explain, there were two conditions Moshe would have to meet in order to be eligible for the job and begin working immediately. "The first condition is that you have no other job and are totally dedicated to learning. The second condition is that you have no car. This is because the committee believes that one who owns a car is too easily distracted from his learning and won't be able to concentrate on the project properly!"

Like all of us, Moshe now understand that what had occurred to him was nothing but Hashem's blessings to provide him an opportunity to have both Torah and sustenance at the same time.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel