Ethics

For the week ending 20 June 2009 / 27 Sivan 5769

Taking On a Challenge

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I am sometimes approached to take on a charity project that I feel is far beyond my capacity. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: The story is told about the trustee of a synagogue somewhere in Israel who was handed a note by one of the congregants. Its message was that he was destitute and urgently needed help to feed his family.

Since this trustee was not one of the activists for the community charity fund, he was surprised that such an appeal should be directed to him. Nevertheless he decided to try to help. His first opportunity came shortly afterwards when a new arrival from the US passed by. He handed him the signed note and asked him if he could help. After seeing who signed the note, the newcomer promised to get back in a few days.

Sure enough, a few days later he handed the trustee an envelope with a large sum of money and offered the following explanation.

"As a newcomer to this country I experienced the usual difficulties faced by immigrants. The fellow who handed you that note was the one person who went out of his way to help me and my family in so many ways to get settled. I felt a great debt of gratitude to him and saw this as a Heaven-sent opportunity to pay that debt."

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