Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Someone asked the Brisker Rav if it was worth the effort to make a Beis Yaakov school in a secular area. After all, how much good was it likely to do?

The Gadol responded immediately, "This is definitely worthwhile! Let me tell you a true story regarding a young girl who attended just such a school.

After a short time she decided to do teshuvah, but since whenever she brought this up her parents opposed her, she kept her observance to herself. The parents owned a general store that was open on Shabbos, and one Friday, her parents went away and left her in charge. As soon as they were on the road, she went and set up the store for business, so that at least she wouldn’t have to turn on lights on Shabbos itself.

The next morning, she opened shop, sat herself down over her Tehillim, and cried. “Please, Hashem, keep people away today!” For hours, she davenned her heart out, and no customer came to disturb her. As the day drew on, the girl realized that if not a single purchase was made her parents would suspect that she hadn’t opened the store at all.

“Hashem,” she prayed, “I don’t know how to get out of this. But please help me anyway!” She threw herself into her Tehillim again.

During the late afternoon, someone came in and started searching for something specific. He found the item, an inexpensive piece of hardware that happened to be out of stock in other stores, and approached the girl so that he could pay for it. When he asked the price, she responded, “That costs 'x'.” She named an exorbitant price hoping to force him to change his mind.

“What?” he exclaimed. “You must be making a mistake! It’s only worth a fraction of that!”

“Take it or leave it,” she said, still hoping to drive him off.

Because he was in real need of the item, the customer tried to whittle down the price. The girl was obstinate, but he persisted. She asked him to wait until her parents arrived, but he demanded the item right away—even at twice the stated price! Again, she refused, and as they were speaking, Shabbos ended. The girl said, “Baruch HaMavdil,” and explained her strange behavior

Saying, “I never go back on my word,” the man paid her his final offer and left. When her parents arrived, the girl showed them the large sum and told them the whole story. They were so amazed that they decided to close the store on Shabbos from then on. Eventually, they became Torah observant in every respect!

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