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In a previous edition (Behar-Bechukosai 5762) we learned an interesting Zohar, in Parashas Vayera, which teaches us an important lesson in helping others.

"'And the men arose and looked towards Sodom' (Bereishis 18:16). Rabbi Eliezer said, 'Come and see how much goodness Hashem bestows upon all whom He has created, and how much more so upon those who walk in His ways. Even when Hashem wants to judge the world, He causes those whom He loves to merit reward for a mitzvah before the judgment actually arrives in the world.

"'For we have learned that when Hashem loves someone, He sends him a present, a poor man, to give him the opportunity to give tzedakah and merit His reward through him. Subsequently, Hashem bestows upon him a sign of salvation. Ultimately, when the Destructor comes to extend judgment, he notices the sign of salvation upon this man and withdraws his hand from him.

"'We see this in the Torah. When the Almighty wanted to judge Sodom, He first gave Avraham the opportunity to extend hospitality to his guests (the three angels), in order to then save his nephew Lot in his merit. This is the meaning of that which is written (ibid. 19:29), "And it came to pass, when G-d destroyed all of the cities of the Plane, and G-d remembered Avraham and He sent Lot from amidst the upheaval." It does not say that G-d remembered Lot, but rather Avraham, since Lot was saved in Avraham's merit.

"'Similarly, when one gives tzedakah, Hashem remembers it and protects him when the Attribute of Justice prevails in the world, as it is written (Mishlei 10:2), "and tzedakah saves from death."'"

In this week's parashah, we learn how our Patriarch Ya'akov helped Rachel water her flock of sheep, and he was rewarded by receiving her as his bride.

Later in the Torah, we find that the same thing happened to Moshe Rabbeinu. He helped the daughters of Yisro water their flock of sheep, and he was rewarding by receiving one of them as his bride.

The following story appears in the fabulous sefer, Ish Lere'eihu and was sent in by one of its many readers who personally witnessed the event.

"One late Friday afternoon, close to the beginning of Shabbos, I noticed a van stuck on the road at the entrance to Giv'at Ze'ev, Jerusalem. The vehicle contained a large family of 12, who were on their way to Ma'aleh Adumim. Try as he may, the driver could not start the motor again. The family began to panic since it would soon be Shabbos and they found themselves at the entrance of a village where they knew no one.

"Suddenly, a neighbor of mine, an insurance broker who lives in Giv'at Ze'ev, appeared and, although he too tried to start the vehicle realized that the problem could not be solved fast enough. In a very surprising move, which not many of us would do, he invited the entire family to be his guests for the entire Shabbos! He assured them that he had ample room and food for all of them and that he and his wife would consider it an honor to host them. After Shabbos they would get the car fixed and they would return home.

"Surprisingly, the head of the family was not thrilled with the suggestion. He explained that they were on their way to a family simchah in Ma'aleh Adumim, and that if they don't show up it would ruin the entire celebration.

"I couldn't believe my ears when I heard the benevolent, potential host offer a second suggestion. He asked the family to wait a few moments while he went to bring his own van which he made available to them - total strangers - until after Shabbos. The family couldn't find the words to thank him and, due to the time pressures upon all of them, the owner of the van forgot to even ask for the name and particulars of those to whom he was lending his expensive vehicle. All Shabbos I couldn't stop thinking about what I had seen and heard - an outstanding act of loving kindness by any measure.

"On Sunday night, I bumped into the kind man again and he mentioned to me, matter of factly, that something very out of the ordinary had happened to him that day. For the first time in all of his years as an insurance broker, he closed a deal with four major clients in one day!

"I was very, very impressed by this. Sure, I had heard from my Rabbis many times that one never loses by helping others; he only gains. But to gain so much, so fast - this I found to be remarkable."

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel