Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pocketing Pennies

The Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, was very emphatic about the importance of keeping Shabbos. He helped many people who had difficulty with understanding the absolute inviolability of this mitzvah put things into their true perspective.
Once, when the Chofetz Chaim was in Moscow to attend to yeshiva business, he heard about a certain observant Jew who owned a factory that unfortunately did not close down until several hours into Shabbos and which began work again the following day while it was still daylight. When this wealthy factory owner came to greet him, the Chofetz Chaim related the following parable:
“A certain non-Jewish peasant would sell the sacks of grain he had grown to a Jewish wholesale merchant. The way they kept track of how much grain had been brought in was to fill the scale over and over again to its maximum capacity, as they marked a line on the wall to keep track of how many times the scale had been filled. The scale held a total of sixteen kilograms, and when they multiplied this number by the number of lines on the wall, they would determine the exact weight of the grain being sold.
He continued, “One day, the peasant realized that if the Jew wanted to cheat him, all he would need to do would be to erase some of the lines while he dragged in his sacks! So he insisted that they change their method; the Jew would give the peasant a small coin to hold after each scale-full. The Jew readily agreed. However, as the coins passed into the peasant’s hands, he foolishly looked on it as an opportunity to pocket a little spare change at the Jew’s expense. Without thinking, the peasant cheated himself out of the value of several scales-worth of grain!
The Chofetz Chaim concluded, “Chazal tell us that in the merit of keeping Shabbos, Hashem blesses our endeavors. When one steals an hour or two from his Shabbos observance in order to make money, he is just like this foolish peasant. It’s like pocketing pennies and throwing away thousands!”


Anonymous said...

true story:
chicago, usa around 1915

friday eve a jewish boy was walking home and saw several coins on the ground,amounting to what would've been 50 or more dollars,which was alot in those days. he would not pick up the coins. instead he covered them with dirt, with his foot, to return after shabbos. that night it snowed and when he returned he could not find the coins.
still, what a remarkable story.
the boy knew how much money it was and how much it could've helped his family and others, but due to his strong intention of shomer shabbos, he wouldn't pick up the money.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Amazing mesiras nefesh. Ashreichem Yirael!