The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 10 February 2007 / 22 Shevat 5767

Playing Musical Coats

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library
"I bought this coat here but it is not exactly what I want and I would like to exchange it for another."

This was the request made by a woman to the people running the BeggedYadLeYadUsedClothingCenter in Jerusalem. Her wish was granted and she walked out with the coat she liked, leaving the old one behind. Soon afterwards another customer entered with a similar request, and she ended up exchanging the coat she was wearing for the one that the previous customer had left behind.

As if this were not enough, a third lady came soon afterwards and exchanged her coat for the one that her predecessor had discarded. This lady, however, spiced her visit with a humorous accusation that the Gemach (the Hebrew term for a service such as this) was causing her trouble!

She went on to explain that when she went to a government office to plead for a reduction in taxes based on her economic plight the clerk remarked that the nice clothes she wore belied her plea of poverty. In response she told the clerk that she purchased her clothes for virtual pennies at the Gemach and they did not reflect her real financial situation.

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