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Loss of Money and An Extraordinary Reaction

Published on Monday February 22th, 2021

Rav Elimelech Biderman recounts an astonishing story. In a Talmud Torah in Bnei Brak, a G-d fearing teacher did his work with dedication, and never stopped in the middle of class, except in extreme emergencies, which were exceptionally rare.

One day, as Pesach approached, he apologized to his students in the middle of class and went to the teachers' room. One of the principal who had noticed that he went out, heard him call home and ask in a worried voice ''have the old suits in the cupboard been thrown away?''

Apparently, the answer was positive. The principal heard him say, "go down quickly and see if the bins have been emptied. He waited a tense minute or two, and then he was told something at the end of the line, and the teacher said aloud, "Then the employees of the municipality have already emptied everything...". After a brief silence, he added a few words to end the conversation, hung up and returned to his class to continue teaching.

The principal was surprised at his unusual behavior, and at the first opportunity, he asked him why he had gone out in the middle of class to make a phone call, which was unusual for him.

The teacher answered him: "I will explain everything. In a few months, one of my children is getting married. The wedding expenses are very great, so I borrowed a very large sum from a Gemach (loan fund).

I looked for a suitable place to temporarily hide the money, and I chose the pocket of one of my old suits. Today, when I left home, I heard my wife saying that she planned to throw away all the old suits since they were too worn out to be worn. At the time, I did not give it much thought, because I had completely forgotten about the amount of money buried in the pocket of one of these suits. But in the middle of class, the memory of the money crossed my mind, and I was in a hurry to check if we had already thrown the suit, or if there was still a small chance to find the money. When I learned that all the money had been lost, I consoled myself about the loss and went back to class." The principal, bewildered, asked him: "You heard that you had lost all the money, and you immediately went back to class and carried on teaching the lesson as if nothing had happened? How could you react that way?''

The teacher replied in a simple way: "When I was a young man learning in Yeshiva, I learned with the Mashgiach, Rabbi Gedalia Eisner. He always told us: "If not for such moments, why does man live in this world?"

He implanted this idea so much in us, that when I face a trial, I feel that it is the essential goal of my existence here on earth!"

Rav Biderman concludes his story; this is how a man who has Bitachon (trust in G-d) loses his money! This is how he faces the trials of life placed in his way by Hashem! By adopting these words and integrating them as an inseparable part of our life, we will be able, by this means, to transform every difficult test into a key moment, justifying our presence in this world.

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