Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Self-Sacrifice for Shabbos

A certain person once decided to emigrate to America from Poland. Since he lived near the Chofetz Chaim it was only natural for him to seek a blessing from the tzaddik before embarking on his journey. The great sage agreed to bless his endeavor on one condition: “You must promise never to violate the sanctity of Shabbos, and to seal it with a handshake.”
The man readily agreed and received the tzaddik’s effusive brochah.
He traveled to Baltimore and quickly found a job washing windows. After an extended period working in the company, his boss suddenly insisted that he begin to come in on Shabbos. The immigrant would not hear of this and refused. Predictably, his employer fired him on the spot.
The next week the man began searching for a job but found nothing. After a month of fruitless seeking, things started getting tight financially. When three months had passed without work, his situation was hardly bearable. After several months had transpired, the man was virtually starving.
One Shabbos after shul he decided to give in and work on Shabbos. After all, their destitution constituted a serious question of pikuach nefesh for himself and his wife and children.
He decided that he would approach his old boss and ask for his old job back on whatever terms were offered. But as he walked to his old place of employment he suddenly recalled that he had promised the Chofetz Chaim that he would not work on Shabbos no matter what.
He realized that although his family had much less food then they required, they would not literally starve and he was therefore obligated to keep Shabbos. He turned around and went home to his dismal Shabbos table.
That very night, his boss came to his door with another man. “Six months ago I told this gentleman that you would sacrifice to keep the Shabbos no matter what it took. He doubted this and we wagered to give you six months with no employment to see who was right. Today was the last day and I won the bet.”
His boss took a wad of bills out of his pocket and said, “Here is your full salary for the last six months. And of course you are welcome back to your job starting tomorrow!”

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