title.jpg (23972 bytes) subscribe

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues


"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).

One of the basic fundamentals of Judaism is that one who gives charity to others actually gains more than he loses. It is an investment with definite returns. The following very moving story, told by Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Gutfarb zt"l, who was famous in Jerusalem for his many efforts to help the poor, was recorded by Rabbi Zilberstein shlita in Tuvecha Yabiu.

A young Torah scholar in Jerusalem was blessed with a large family of fourteen children. He was more interested in Torah study than in sustenance, and so he barely eked out a modest livelihood to feed his household.

One day, a destitute woman came to his door and begged him for a piece of meat to eat. She explained that she hadn't eaten in a while and was very weak. Only a good piece of meat could return her strength to her.

The young man felt very bad for the woman but explained to her that the two chickens he had in his refrigerator were reserved for the upcoming holidays and if he gives her a piece now, some of his children will not have any then. The woman understood but insisted that in her present condition it was of utmost importance that she eats some meat as soon as possible.

The kind young man began to reconsider his decision. After all, at hand was a hungry woman who needed food immediately to get her strength back. So what would be so terrible if his children would not have meat on Yom Tov? He apologized for the delay and asked the woman to wait a few more moments while he gets the chicken from the refrigerator.

The few appliances in the young man's home were old fashioned models which he bought used. The refrigerator was the type they used to manufacture, which could not be opened from the inside. Many hair-raising stories caused them to eventually change that style. When he opened the refrigerator door, he was totally shocked to find his three year old son inside the cubicle turning blue. Through great difficulty, the doctors got the boy's breathing stable and declared that had he not been discovered in another minute he would have been beyond help.

Had the poor lady not come when she did, there was no reason for anyone to open the refrigerator for quite a while. The young man felt that for a piece of chicken his son's life was returned to him. A very great return for his investment, indeed.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel