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If there shall be a destitute person among you, any of your brethren in any of your cities, in the Land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you, you shall not harden your heart or close your hand against your destitute brother. Rather, you shall open your hand to him; you shall lend him his requirement, whatever is lacking to him. Beware lest there be a lawless thought in your heart, saying, "The seventh year approaches, the remission year," and you will look malevolently upon your destitute brother and refuse to give him -- then he may appeal against you to Hashem, and it will be a sin upon you. You shall surely give him, and let your heart not feel bad when you give him, for in return for this matter, Hashem, your G-d, will bless you in all your deeds and in your every undertaking (Devarim 15:7-10).
The Torah encourages us to share our wealth with those who are less fortunate than we. In return, the Torah promises us abundant blessings in our personal lives.

I've never seen a person who was sad because he just spent a lot of money to purchase stocks. On the contrary, he considers the expenditure an investment and expects to increase his savings as a result. Surely he knows that there is a risk involved and his gain is not definite; he may even lose money, G-d forbid. Even so, after carefully analyzing the market, he came to the conclusion that there is a reasonable chance of making money by parting with it in this manner. With hope in his heart, and a smile on his face, he looks forward to a profitable future.

How much more so should one feel gratified when he gives alms to the poor? This "investment" is guaranteed by the Almighty Himself; the One Who provides the whole world with sustenance. As a matter of fact, although it is normally forbidden to test Hashem, this is the only instance where the prophet encourages us, in Hashem's Name, to do so, as it says (Malachi 3:10), "Bring all the tithes to the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now with that, says Hashem of Hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour for you an overflowing blessing."

Many, many people can bear witness to the fact that their charitable acts brought them much more than they cost them. The following, moving story was told by the great tzaddik, Reb Yechiel Mechel Gutfarb, zt"l, and is brought, in his name, by Harav Zilberstein, shlita, in his fabulous book Tuvecha Yabiu.

"Moshe" (fictitious name) lived in Yerushalayim and studied in a kolel. Like many others, Hashem had blessed him with Torah and with children; but not with parnassah (sustenance). Feeding a wife and fourteen young ones was not easy, and not always did their stomachs get full; but they were always happy. As a matter of fact, rich people were often jealous at the quality of life in Moshe's home.

It was two weeks before the holiday. Moshe had saved his pennies and in his small refrigerator were two chickens, put aside to add to his household's joy when the special day would arrive. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Moshe was greeted by a poor woman who begged for some food to satisfy her hunger. Moshe tried to explain to her that he did not have much more than she and that the little chicken he had somehow managed to purchase was being saved for his own hungry children. But the woman persisted. She hadn't had a decent meal in days, she said, and she needed some real food soon or she wouldn't survive.

Moshe quickly recalculated and decided that feeding this destitute woman was more important than having a delicacy on Yom Tov. His children would not starve if they all shared one chicken and, with their absolute faith in Hashem, they would be just as happy. He asked the poor woman to wait a moment and, with happiness and zeal, he went to get the precious food to perform the tremendous mitzvah which had been presented to him.

But when he opened the old fashioned refrigerator, which could not be unlocked from the inside, he was shocked to find his three year old son inside, blue and frozen. He quickly called the Magen Dovid Adom (Red Magen David) who rushed the boy to the hospital where his life was saved. The doctors' examinations indicated that he had been in there for a while and would surely have died had he not been rescued soon. Since there was no reason for anyone to open the nearly empty refrigerator for quite a while, it was clear that only the arrival of the poor woman, at that precise moment, had saved the child's life.

Moshe had no intention of testing Hashem. Nevertheless, he was privileged to see how helping others does not cost us. On the contrary, it is an investment which brings certain, great dividends, both in this world and in the World-to-Come.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel