Kupat Ha'ir – The Tzedakah of the Gedolei Hador Kupat Ha'ir is the largest volunteer based charity fund supported by Jews worldwide. Kupat Ha'ir is the lifeline for thousands of needy. With offices in Israel, the U.S., Canada and throughout Europe.
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I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation

Illumination from Heaven

“I can’t believe the big day is actually here,” declared Tzipora, the oldest. “Believe me, I don’t know how Abba and Ima go through such tension with each of us kids.” She flopped into the first chair she saw, trying to ease the pressure on her aching legs. A moment later, she was up and about again, greeting guests, escorting them to a table and just making sure everything was running smoothly. The chuppah had just finished and her mother was lingering downstairs with a few guests who had arrived for the chuppah only. Tzipora felt responsible to act as her mother’s assistant hostess.
Tzipora still had a hard time believing that her kid brother Yossi was actually a chassan. Who would have believed it? She still thought of him as a wild Indian, a kid full of mischief and energy who managed to be everywhere at once. She knew, of course, that Yossi had matured into a very different type of bachur; he had a reputation as a fine learner with a heart of gold. Still, in her mind he was still a boy. And now he had a kallah… Chani made a wonderful impression – sweet, refined, and pleasant. Her family, too, seemed equally wonderful. Baruch Hashem. There was another guest arriving…
Amid exclamations of mazal tov and a flurry of embraces, the guest stuck a gift in Tzipora’s hand and asked her to help her find her mother.
“She’s still downstairs,” Tzipora said, steering the guest to a table with her mother’s friends. “Why don’t you have a seat?” she suggested. “look, there’s –
The lights went out.
What was going on? Tzipora raised her eyes to the ceiling, as if the answer was written there. All the many bulbs had gone dark; there was not the slightest spark of light anywhere. The sudden hush told Tziporah that the band could no longer play, either.
“Looks like they want to re-do the chuppah,” joked one of the kallah’s sisters. There were a few titters.
Over on the men’s side, someone began a slow kumsitz tune, but his effort soon fizzled out. Kumsitzes are nice around a midnight campfire, not at a wedding.
Tzipora hurried out of the hall to the office. She found the manager standing in front of the open fuse box, scratching his head helplessly. He was just as bewildered as she.
“I don’t see where the problem is,” he was saying. “All the halls have gone dark. Such a thing has never happened before!”
“You’re taking care of it, right?” Tzipora asked, making sure.
“What do you think? If this doesn’t resolve itself quickly, I’m out of business,” the manager replied tensely. Tzipora moved out of the way. Her family was worrying about one hall; the manager had a few halls to worry about.
She ran back to the hall. Toby, her younger sister, was rekindling the candles that had been used at the chuppah. A crowd of little girls buzzed around her, enjoying the excitement. Tzipora made the rounds of the hall, trying to make sure everyone was okay.
At first, people waited patiently, sure the lights would go back on again momentarily. As the moments ticked by and the hall remained shrouded in darkness, however, people began asking questions.
“Did you try calling the owner of the hall?”
“Has someone called an electrician?”
“I have a top electrician, a truly talented man. You ought to call him. Tell him you’re in middle of a wedding and he’ll fly right over on his motorcycle. Within ten minutes, everyone will have forgotten there was a blackout.”
“Oy, today’s generation. Once you pay someone, you can forget about service.”
Tzipora had neither the time nor patience to listen to everyone’s reactions. Thank G-d her mother was still downstairs. At least she was spared the need to greet guests in the darkness.
The moments ticked by.
It was so awfully unpleasant. There was no music, no photographer, no light in the bathrooms. The hall was almost completely pitch-black – they’d had the bad luck to rent the basement hall. The air-conditioning wasn’t working, either, and the air was getting stuffier with each passing moment.
“Why are you thinking about yourself?” Toby asked her. “Think about the chassan and kallah!”
Well, she hadn’t exactly been thinking about herself, but it was true that she’d forgotten to think about the chassan and kallah. They were in the yichud room, the poor things. Maybe someone had lit candles for them. She hoped so. A sudden blackout could definitely put a damper even on such once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Tzipora hurried out of the hall again. She was too edgy to stay in one place. The manager was still standing in front of the same fuse box. He had a cell phone to his ear and he was muttering angrily into it, flipping one switch after another as he spoke, to no avail. A small crowd of other angry people – the ba’alei simchah from the other halls – had gathered around him.
“You don’t even have emergency lighting,” one of them shouted. “That’s a criminal offense!”
The manager’s neck turned beet-red.
“He doesn’t have a worker handy. He has no instructions for what to do in such a case. Nothing. We paid good money to rent our hall and we’re getting rotten service, another grumbled.
“Sir, would you please come apologize to my guests? I invited a number of distinguished rabbanim and I’m terribly ashamed to receive them.”
Tzipora left again. She couldn’t judge the people; she herself felt the same way. Still, it was not her way to let her tongue wag. It wouldn’t accomplish anything in any case.
She walked slowly back to the hall. She, too, felt she couldn’t face her guests. Her mother was back in the hall already, trying her best to deal with the unpleasant situation with grace. No one was cracking jokes anymore. The candles had burned all the way down already. What kind of wedding would Yossi have? Twenty years from now, he’d laugh at the pressure she was under at his wedding but somehow, that was scarce comfort now.
Devorah, a close friend, found her sitting in a corner. Even in the dark, Devorah could see that she was close to tears.
“How about contributing to Kupat Ha’ir?”
Tzipora shrugged. “Kupat Ha’ir is a great solution for people whom it really helps. I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve tried a few times and it never worked for me. I always ended up contributing in any case, even though I stipulated that the contribution was contingent on a yeshuah. I must be from a different breed. These things don’t work for me.”
“But what does it hurt to try? If it doesn’t work, you won’t contribute but at least you’ll know you tried. You can’t play with the wires, right? The electricity’s been off for more than half an hour already and it doesn’t look like anyone knows what to do about the problem. At least try the one thing you can do.
“Okay, I’ll try.” It was obvious from Tzipora’s voice that she didn’t expect the segulah to work. She stepped aside, feeling the need for privacy.
Suddenly, she found herself praying from the very bottom of her heart. In a split second, a bridge sprang up directly from her to her Father in heaven and she felt closer to Him than she’d felt in a long, long time.
“If the electricity comes back fast,” she said, “I’ll contribute eighteen shekels to Kupat Ha’ir. Whatever Hashem does is for the best, but if Hashem wants us to beseech Him and find favor in His eyes by giving tzedakah, that is what I’m doing.”
She looked up, her eyes moist. Devorah, with typical sensitivity, had moved aside. A sense of inexplicable anticipation welled up inside Tzipora. You don’t give it half a chance, remember? These things don’t work for you. You contributed just because that was the only thing you could do to try and help.
She waited for the lights to go on.
Despite everything she had said only moments earlier, deep, deep down, she knew the lights would go on.
And they did. To her, it seemed like the miracle came in the blink of an eye. Later she realized that it had in fact taken two minutes.
The lights came back all at once, illuminating the crestfallen faces of the machateinestas, the friends and the many guests. Within minutes, the tension and unpleasantness was forgotten as the hall filled with joy. The band played for all it was worth; the photographer snapped photo after photo. It seemed everyone was eager to make up for the fiasco with an extra measure of liveliness.
“It worked,” Devorah whispered to Tzipora, her eyes shining.
“Yes,” Tzipora replied. “You know, in addition to the fact that the wedding went back on track, I earned a precious moment of true, pure prayer. I sensed that my tefillah was forging its way heavenward and I sensed that it was being heard. I felt Hashem’s mercy enveloping me. Only someone who has experienced a moment liket this can understand what I mean.”
Baruch Hashem, she, too, is from the “breed’ for whom “these things” work. And  she is so pleased to belong!
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