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Re'eh"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 15:10).
Giving tzedokoh (charity) should be seen as a good investment with definite, large dividends. However, as in all investments, some items pay more and some pay less. Supporting Torah is a Blue Chip stock with very high dividends. But not everyone is lucky enough to be found worthy of having a part in it.
Every investor knows that speculation is a major part of the game. The time to invest in something is when its price is lowest; but who is to assure that it will indeed rise substantially? To succeed, one needs a keen understanding, a lot of experience, and, most of all, an abundance of siyata diShemaya (Heavenly assistance).
In spirituality it is the same. Great opportunities are missed all the time; often due to arrogance. The following story was told by Hagaon Harav Yechezkel Abromski zt"l, and was originally recorded in the book Lekach Tov and recently included in the collection of stories in Chaim Sheyeish Bahem.
When the great Rabbi Yitzchok Elchanan Spector zt"l was a young yeshiva student, he was extremely poor. At one point he could not even afford a pair of shoes and so he could not go to the Beis Midrash to learn but had to study at home.
One day, he turned to a boy from a rich family who was about to get married and suggested that since he had certainly bought a brand new wardrobe for the wedding, that he be so kind as to give him his old shoes which he would no longer need. That way, he added, he would be able to return to studying in the Beis Midrash.
The arrogant rich boy, who did not appreciate Torah scholars enough, replied haughtily, "If you go to work and earn a living, you won't have to accept presents from people and will be able to buy shoes with your own money!"
Years passed and Reb Yitzchok Elchanan became renowned as the undisputed Halachic authority of the generation. One day he visited Vilna and brought along the manuscripts of one of his famous books. A tremendous crowd came out to greet him and it is related that it consisted of twenty thousand people and that the local government forbade him from coming again since he had received more honor than the Czar had when he visited there.
Among those who came to greet the great genius was that rich boy who was now a rich man. When he heard that Harav Spector was planning on publishing another book, he decided that it would be a great merit and honor if he would sponsor it completely. He approached the Rabbi and announced his readiness to cover all of the expenses of the printing, binding and distribution of the up and coming masterpiece.
Reb Elchanan recognized his proposed benefactor immediately and replied, "You are too late. Twenty years ago you could have accomplished this and a lot more with just a pair of shoes!"
Shema Yisrael Torah Network