Yeshayahu Galinsky wrote a post on his Facebook page. He tells of an unemployed man that went to but some food at a local grocery store for his little girl. When the man came to the cash register and asked the store owner to put the purchase on his credit account at the store the owner refused. “I’m sorry”, he said very loudly in front of everyone present, “you already owe me thousands of Shekels, I can’t sell to you.”
That wasn’t enough, the store keeper kept berating the poor man with questions; “when do you plan on paying me? Did you find work yet?” Mortified, the man broke down crying and explained; “it’s true I haven’t yet found work but I plan on paying you back every penny (agorah in Israel).” “When?” asked the store keeper. “I don’t know yet” the man replied.
A wealthy looking person intervened. He was on his way to a business meeting and he just stopped to get a quick cold drink when this episode played out in front of him. After the embarrassed man left with the food bought on ‘credit’ the wealthy man approached the store keeper and said, “I want to pay up his debt.”
The storekeeper insisted; “You don’t need to do this, the man is a loser, an unemployed nothing! Listen to me, you don’t need to pay his debts, not even one cent!”
But the wealthy man also insisted and said; “why I’m paying is none of your business, just tell me how much he owes and let’s get it over with.”
The debt was 5,267 shekel but the man wrote a check for 7,500 saying, “I want him to have some money for future purchases, to be able to buy honorably these next few months.” But the wealthy man wasn’t finished. He asked the store keeper, “What did this man work in before he lost his job?” The storekeeper answered, “He was a carpenter”. When he heard that the wealthy man took out his business card and gave it to the storekeeper and asked him: “Do me a favor and give him my business card. Tell him there’s someone who needs carpentry work in his house.”
He also quietly spoke to the storekeeper off to the side and said: “You look like a fair and proper person and it really is not nice to embarrass someone like that in public .Please take him to the side and ask him for forgiveness for hurting his feelings and tell him you won’t do it again. It’s painful enough to be unemployed and can’t honorably provide for his family. He doesn’t need more outside difficulties.”
The next day the wealthy man got a knock on his door. The man’s wife opened and was shocked to see people who she didn’t recognize with a box of chocolates giftwrapped for them. These were the poor man his wife and baby daughter. They told the wife of the wealthy man “you are like angels from heaven for us. You saved us and we wanted to say thank you,” they said explaining to her what happened the day before.
The wealthy man was in the kitchen listening and he came out an invited them in. The poor man told him “you came at the worst time I ever had in my entire life and you saved us from shameful hunger. But I promise you I’ll pay back every penny even if I have to work in the garbage.”
But the wealthy man said “Perhaps you misunderstood my precious friend. I didn’t give you a handout. This was a down payment on your future renovation work that I need done in my house. Aren’t you a carpenter?” The poor man came to the realization that not only did this wealthy man save him from hunger but he also gave him the money in a wise manner that saved his pride.
But the story doesn’t end there! After the carpenter completed the renovation in his kind benefactor's house, the man insisted on helping him establish his own business- a boutique carpentry shop for high end customers. This kindness enabled the carpenter to provide for his family in a most honorable fashion.
The wealthy man until this day doesn’t want to be mentioned and doesn’t want to be in the limelight. He just mentioned that “I did what I did because it was the right thing to do. If every Jew that has would give to a Jew that doesn’t have our country, Israel would look different”.
Indeed the whole world would look different!