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"Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying. 'Pinchas, son of Elazar, son of Aharon the Kohein, turned back My wrath from upon the Children of Israel, when he zealously avenged Me among them, so I did not consume the Children of Israel in My vengeance. Therefore, say - "Behold! I give him My covenant of peace"'" (Bemidbar 25:10-12).

Pinchas performed a very bold act by killing a Prince in Israel and the daughter of a prince in Midian who performed an abominable act in public. By doing this, he turned back Hashem's wrath against the Children of Israel and halted the plague from among them. Hashem told Moshe to assure him that he will be rewarded appropriately.

The general rule is that Hashem does not reward the righteous in this world but in the World-to-Come. However, there are exceptions and certain deeds provide benefits in this world too. When we are privileged to see clearly how a person is repaid for his efforts in his own lifetime, it should enforce our belief in the ultimate reward in the World-to-Come.

The following inspiring story is recorded in the wonderful book Aleynu Lishabeach by Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein shlita.

Two students in Yeshiva Netivos Olam for ba'alei teshuvah (penitents) were chavrusos (study partners) throughout the day. A year and a half after the first one got married, the second one became engaged. The new groom had hardly any family in Israel, so the married fellow decided that he would organize a sheva berachos for him. However, the week of the wedding, his wife gave birth to a boy. Nevertheless, he insisted on making a beautiful party for the bride and groom, despite all of his own responsibilities. But since he was not a man of means, he had to make the affair in his own home, rather than in a hall. This meant that he had to make all of the arrangements and preparations by himself.

The big day came and the dinner was scheduled for 7 PM. In Yeshiva Netivos Olam the students are taught to be punctual, so the host knew that everyone would be arriving on time. But his own obligations to his wife and newborn child prevented him from attending to the event he was planning. His wife was home, but instead of helping him, as she usually would, she needed help herself. The clock struck 6 and the tables were not even set yet. The fellow was at his wits ends.

At 6:15, the bell rang and our hero almost fainted at the thought that perhaps his guests had decided to come early. With a heavy heart he opened the door and was shocked to see his mother-in-law who was supposed to come in another two days to help prepare for the bris. For some reason she had suddenly decided to come from Teveriah a few days earlier and see if her assistance was needed. When she heard the situation at hand she told her son-in-law not to worry about a thing and began getting things moving like a whirlwind. Everything was ready before the guests arrived and the young man publicly acknowledged that Hashem had apparently sent his mother-in-law to help him expedite the mitzvah he had taken upon himself to perform.

But this is not the end of the story.

A few moments before 7, the phone rang. On the line was the young man's aunt who had just arrived from Austria and wanted to come right over and visit him. He politely tried to explain that now would not be a good time to come since he would not be free to give her the attention she deserved and the tummel of the sheva berachos would surely disturb her. However, she stubbornly insisted that she wanted to come immediately and she promised not to stay long.

A short time later, the aunt arrived, and, amazingly, she did not even want to come into the house. She merely handed her nephew a sealed envelope and left as quickly as she had come. He ran after her to try to converse with her a bit but she explained that she, too, was in a hurry, and had only wanted to deliver the envelope to him.

The guests had begun to come, so the young man put the envelope in his pocket and began to attend to the affair at hand. To his surprise, instead of 15 people, 35 arrived. Once again, his mother-in-law came to the rescue and set up quickly for the unexpected guests. However, the expense of the dinner was really much more than the host had counted on. Nevertheless, he was very happy that Hashem had helped him perform this great mitzvah properly and he made sure that the bride and groom enjoyed every moment of the evening.

Well after midnight, when the last guest had left and he finished cleaning up the apartment, he remembered the envelope in his pocket. He opened it and was shocked to find that it was filled with cash. But he was more amazed when he counted the bills and found that the amount equaled exactly the cost of the sheva berachos he had just completed.

As the Sages taught (Avos 2:12; 2:16:6:5): "Your Employer can be relied upon to pay you the wage of your labor."

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel