Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Av 5763 - July 31, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

A Timely Tzedoka Mission
a true story by Sara Carmel

The silver-colored station wagon was parked at a corner next to the neighborhood grocery store. A few minutes before, Sam Goldberg, a hearty fellow, had entered its doors. He bought a quick breakfast which included a styrofoam cup of coffee and was eager to start his day. He owned a dress shop which required long hours of shopping in upper Manhattan and no time to sit down properly to eat.

He inhaled the sweet aroma of the steaming coffee and sipped the brew. The warm liquid invigorated him as it coursed through his body, suffusing him with energy for the day.

A soft rap at the window jolted him out of his reverie. He glanced at the window and smiled at the renowned Reb Shlomo, a tzedoka collector. R' Shlomo seemed to have been born for this occupation. He carried a maroon leather bag that often contained thousands of dollars. R' Shlomo seemed to have a special angel attending him, protecting him from all evil. The money always seemed to be safe in R' Shlomo's hands, and people trusted him that their charity donations would be going to an excellent cause.

R' Shlomo was a favorite, welcome in every shul and home. With a ready smile and a good word for everyone, he was surrounded by friends wherever he went. His pockets invariably contained a sweet for a child who told over a chiddush learned in cheder and his light blue eyes sparkled like the clear waters of a brook when he looked and listened to you, and even more so, when he talked.

People were attracted to him by the small stories he told, even though these usually demanded payment of sorts. This did not deter them from crowding around him to catch every word.

R' Shlomo did not suffice with paltry sums. He collected for a well-known Mesivta; his days and nights were spent in the attempt to cover the utility bills and other expenses not covered by tuition fees. This was R' Shlomo and his work. He had an uncanny instinct of knowing when and where to knock, at just the right moment.

"Gut morgen, Reb Yid," he greeted Sam. The driver juggled the coffee in one hand while trying to pull open the door peg with the other.

"Good morning to you! What a pleasure, what a zechus to have you join me for breakfast!" He held out the bag of Danishes, but R' Shlomo had already begun unraveling one of his tales. Sam anticipated the punch, or pinch, and smiled as he removed a thick wad of bills from his pocket and handed it to R' Shlomo. He hadn't donated to the Mesivta for a while.

Suddenly he was fumbling at the door handle, his knuckles turning white. His face paled at a scene in his side mirror and he flung the door open.

R' Shlomo couldn't understand what had happened. People rarely interrupted him in the middle of a story. What was the mad rush?

R' Shlomo didn't even have a chance to thank his benefactor. Sam had leaped out of the car, spilling the remnants of his coffee onto the curb, and was running down the block. He must have seen something awful.

Panting and sweating from exertion and fright, Sam finally reached the scene he had beheld in the car mirror. His own son Yitzy lay sprawled on the street, his red hair covered with bright blood, a gruesome sight. Within moments, Hatzola men were already on the scene, having been contacted by some quick-thinking spectator. The driver of the green sports car was standing by, afraid to look, his face buried in his hands. R' Shlomo had also arrived on the scene.

"The boy's O.K.," the paramedics reassured the three men. A sheer miracle, as he had been hurled high into the air, had sailed a few yards before landing with a dull thud on the sidewalk. The entire episode ended with nineteen stitches on his head. That was all.


Sam drove the boy to the emergency ward with the reassurance of the Hatzola men that he would be alright. Meanwhile, R' Shlomo assured his benefactor that he would call the Goldberg home and break the bad-and-good news carefully.

It took several rings before Chana, a competent housewife, answered the shrill ring of the phone. Her heavy-duty mixer made it almost impossible to hear. She dipped a spoon into the pink frosting she was making for Yitzy's birthday cake, took a quick lick, and then shut it off and picked up the receiver.

"Hello, this is R' Shlomo..."

"Are you looking for my husband? He's gone already."

"No," replied R' Shlomo in what he hoped was a reassuring voice. "It's you I'm looking for. Please sit down. Everything is O.K. but your son had to be taken to the hospital for a few stitches."

A thousand questions raced through her mind but she couldn't articulate them.

"Hello, are you with me?" She grunted weakly, thanked him for calling and confirmed the name of the hospital so she could rush over.

R' Shlomo hung up the heavy black receiver in the phone booth. He didn't like this kind of job. His line was squeezing smiles out of people, and children. He wiped his brow and mused over the strange events.

"Unbelievable!" he suddenly snapped his fingers in excitement as it suddenly struck him. At the very moment that the child had been crossing the street, the father had handed him the large sum of money for the yeshiva. It must have been that act that had spared the boy from no more than some stitches when he could easily have been... No, he didn't want to think about that!

A world run like clockwork, R' Shlomo thought. Every event fitting into a Divine scheme like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. No detail is superfluous; every piece has its special place and perfect time.

Boy, would he have a story to tell people, now! A true one!


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