Monday, July 27, 2009

The Value of a Half-Penny

As is well known, the Chazon Ish, zt”l, would make time to go to the sea since swimming is a very healthy pastime which he believed was important for his wellbeing. At other times, he would go to the sea to immerse. When he went on such trips he would take a companion along with him.
Once the Chazon Ish, zt”l, went with someone to the shore near Tel Aviv to immerse. In the place where they went there were two options for swimmers to put their clothing. Swimmers could either pay out a full grush, or penny, and place their clothes in a shaded changing booth, or they could leave their garments in an open box under the baking summer sun for half as much.
To the surprise of the person accompanying him, the Chazon Ish made his way for the boxes in the open sun. When the companion suggested they take a shaded booth, the Chazon Ish continued making his way towards the open boxes as though he had not heard him.
After they immersed they made their way to the boxes under the harshly beating sun. When they finally reached them, the companion commented, “Too bad we didn’t take a changing booth…”
The Chazon Ish looked down at his walking stick and said softly “We can give the other half a grush to tzedakah.”
When the companion told over this story he remarked, “That trip taught me the greatness of even half a penny of tzedakah!”

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