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Chayei Sarah

"Let him grant me the Cave of Machpelah which is his, on the edge of his field; let him grant it to me for its full price, in your midst, as an estate for a burial site" (Bereishis 23:09).
Avraham did not want the field and the cave for free. He wanted no presents. He trusted wholly in Hashem that by dealing honestly with people, he would suffer no loss.

The following story, recounted in Barechi Nafshi by Rabbi Zilberstein shlita, is an example of how one who trusts in Hashem and deals fairly with other people will not lose as a result of it. In fact, he will even gain.

The Northern section of Israel is a summer vacation resort area and many home owners rent rooms ("tzimmerin'") for the entire summer or part of it. During the Lebanon War, during the summer of 2006, missiles were falling in that area and hardly anyone went there for vacation.

However, a Torah scholar from Bnei Brak had rented a room in Avivim several months before the war broke out. After bargaining with the owner, they agreed on a price of six hundred dollars which the renter sent the owner immediately. When the war began, the question arose whether or not the renter could withdraw from the deal. It is not a simple question and the two of them should normally have appeared together before a competent Rabbi for his ruling. However, as soon as the young man called the owner of the apartment, he said, "I understand you and there is no need to explain or apologize. I will return the entire amount immediately."

Within 48 hours, the money was back in the hands of the former renter.

However, the Torah Scholar's conscience began to bother him. Perhaps, he thought to himself, he should have at least shared the loss with the home owner. After all, it certainly wasn't his fault that the war was waging, and who would want to rent it now?

He immediately called up the owner and offered to return part of the money to him. At first, the owner was very upset and said, "If I agreed to return your money, then why would I regret my decision? I don't want a penny back." Then, in a softer tone, he said, "What do you think? That I lost money because of you? Just the opposite. Hashem repaid me twofold and I rented the room for double the amount we made up; for one thousand two hundred dollars!"

The young man was shocked. "To whom did you rent it in these times at such an exorbitant price?" he asked.

"To newspaper reporters who are all here reporting the events, and desperately need places to stay," he replied!

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel