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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.
Main  >  I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation  >  I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation

I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation

Returned in Full

Zev stood thunderstruck with the receiver in hand. In his darkest dreams he had never anticipated a phone call as terrible as the one he׳d just received. He tried to hide his shaking hands as he murmured something and left the house, with the note he׳d manage to scribble between his fingers. He headed for the home of his good friend, an older and more experienced man who might be able to extricate him from the tangled web in which he found himself.
All he had done was purchase a new Haggadah shel Pesach and two new siddurim in honor of Yom Tov. What was so terrible about that? He was a careful avreich; he never made any rash purchases, never spent money he didn׳t have.
Never? Not quite.
The sefarim he had purchased didn׳t quite fit into that category. He had relied on the assumption that his Rosh Kollel would give him a bonus for Yom Tov when in fact there was none. The check he had given the bookstore had been cashed against a completely empty bank account.
To his dismay, the store owner had given the check to a company that deals with checks. From there, the check had reached the thug who had just called. Zev shuddered. Just the memory of the man׳s voice made him shiver with dread.
״You will immediately bring NIS 2,000 to the address I give you. Otherwise I shall remove NIS 5,000 from your account,״ he׳d threatened menacingly.
Two thousand shekels? Five thousand shekels? How had he gotten into such a mess? But the worst thing was being in the thug׳s grip. He had a wife and small children. Their safety was paramount.
He׳d scribbled down the address and left the house.
״It doesn׳t look good,״ his friend said.  A few telephone calls yielded the information that the address belonged to a seedy restaurant on a Tel Aviv beachfront. The restaurant was known as a joint haunted by unsavory types.
Zev felt he simply couldn׳t go there himself. His heart would explode with fear before he even took a step inside. He found a messenger who was familiar with the place and its significance. He borrowed money from a friend and gave it to the messenger to make the payment in his place. They wouldn׳t hurt the messenger, he knew.
But the messenger did not succeed in fulfilling his mission. The woman behind the counter at the restaurant had been furious. She׳d cursed and shouted, insisting she had never heard the name before and knew nothing of the matter. She didn׳t have the check to return to the messenger in exchange for the money and no one had told her to expect someone. Who had fed the messenger such a pack of lies and why didn׳t the person come himself; the owner wasn׳t in the country and…
The messenger had picked up and fled.
The following day, Zev went to the bank. He told the clerk the story and asked him to find out who had tried to cash the check.
״It׳s the underworld,״ the clerk told him, his eyes filled with pity. ״The police steer clear of them; they׳re afraid of them! The bank cannot help you. In fact, no one can help you. Pray to the Master of the World to have mercy on you.״
Zev felt dizzy. Black and white circles danced before his eyes.
״You should at least know what to expect. When you come to them, the first thing they will do is beat you to an inch of your life. Then they׳ll strip you of any money on your person. And don׳t expect to get the check back. They׳ll want to hold on to it to continue sucking your blood to the bitter end.״
Zev left the bank with a faltering step.
What should he do now? To whom should he turn? Where should he go?
He approached various askanim. They all turned him away, shrugging and saying they didn׳t know how to help him. Zev had a strong feeling that they didn׳t want to touch his case, the case that had become his life.
Suddenly, it occurred to him to contribute to Kupat Ha׳ir. He met a fellow kollel avreich and told him the story. He asked him how much he thought he ought to contribute.
״To merit a yeshuah beyond drech hateva, you need to contribute beyond derech hateva,״ his friend advised, quoting what he had read in a previous yeshuos magazine.
״How much? You think I ought to promise two hundred shekels? Where will I find the money, with this tzarah on my head?״
״It׳s your heart Hashem wants,״ his friend replied. ״You barely bring home enough money to buy food for your family; how can you afford to contribute two hundred shekels? Even twenty shekels is enough, as long as you have the right intentions when you contribute.״
Zev took his friend׳s advice. He contributed twenty shekels and felt suddenly much calmer.
I׳m going to call them up and see what they say, he thought to himself. His fingers shook as he dialed the number of the seedy restaurant.
״Oh, it׳s you,״ said the woman who answered the phone. She sounded almost pleasant. ״Yes, of course I know who you are. Why did that other guy come in here and drive me crazy? Come on down yourself, we׳ll talk things over and put this behind us.״
Zev was terrified of a trap. He didn׳t dare go down there himself. He asked the messenger to go there again, and he agreed.
The messenger took the money and was warned to bring back the problematic check. Zev recited chapter after chapter of Tehillim.
When the messenger arrived, he was greeted cordially. The owner (the thug himself) was there as well.
״Ah, I see we׳re dealing with a chareidi,״ he said to the surprised messenger. ״Okay, give me a hundred shekels and you can have the check.״
The check was placed on the table. The messenger could not believe his eyes.
״Take another twenty shekels,״ he urged the thug. ״You must׳ve been charged a fee when the check bounced.״
״Nah, never mind,״ the thug replied – but the messenger set the bill on the table anyway, just to be on the safe side. It was best not to leave any possibilities open for a future lawsuit.
The messenger returned to Zev and gave back the money he had sent with him as well as the bounced check. All׳s well that ends well.

But that was not the end. 
A few days later, Zev was traveling with his son in a taxi. His son required a few intravenous infusions and Zev was taking him for one of them. On the way, he told the driver the story from beginning to end.
The driver, completely flabbergasted, stopped the taxi near a bus stop and inserted a twenty-shekel bill into a Kupat Ha׳ir pushka, explaining that he was contributing so the child would have a refuah sheleimah. He continued exclaiming in amazement throughout the trip and in the end, when they arrived at Zev׳s destination, he refused to accept payment.
The trip should have cost him twenty shekels. He knew that from previous trips he had taken with his child. Now that the ״savings״ was connected to the story, he felt that Hashem was returning to him the twenty shekels he had given to the thug.
״I know, it sounds too good to be true, with all the loose ends so neatly tied up,״ Zev says with a smile. ״It sounds like a story crafted by a master storyteller. But before the contribution, I felt like it was too awful to be true, like a horror story crafted by a master storyteller. What connection could I, a kollel avreich who practically never sets foot outside Bnei Brak, possibly have with a thug from the underworld?
״So that׳s it, in a nutshell: it depends at what point you join the story – before the contribution or after. The entire story is true; not a single detail has been embellished. If anyone doesn׳t believe it, he can call and ask.״
Go right ahead.
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