Ethics

For the week ending 2 May 2009 / 7 Iyyar 5769

A Heavenly Messenger

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I am accustomed to have poor beggars come to my home seeking contributions. But sometimes I hear a knocking on the door late at night when the entire family is in the process of retiring. What is the right thing to do when I open the door in anticipation of some emergency only to see a beggar standing there?

Answer: This question was once put to Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein, rav of the Ramat Elchanan Community in Bnei Brak. His response was that while the homeowner, renowned for his philanthropy, saw such a beggar as a late night nuisance, in reality he should be seen as a "Hatzalah" paramedic who has arrived to save his life.

Although when a "Hatzalah" volunteer comes there is usually a siren announcing his arrival, he added, one should imagine that he hears a Heavenly siren accompanying the beggar which echoes the message that charity saves one from death.

Instead of venting your anger at the beggar for disturbing you, keep in mind that he may well be a Heavenly messenger to save you from tragedy.

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