The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 13 March 2004 / 20 Adar I 5764

Charity Saves from Death

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"Could you please spare a chicken for me? I have hardly anything to eat!"

This was the heartrending appeal a Jerusalem Torah scholar heard from the poor woman who had just knocked on his door. The trouble was that his financial situation was not much better than hers. With great difficulty he had somehow managed to secure two chickens for the sparse holiday meals for his very large family. After a momentary effort to explain his helpless situation, he quickly switched his mental gears and told the lady to wait while he went to fetch one of those chickens from his refrigerator.

The sight that greeted him when he opened the door of the fridge almost caused him to faint. There lay his three-year old son, unconscious and blue from the cold. He had playfully locked himself inside, and his cries were muffled by the locked door. Emergency medical help was immediately summoned and they were able to revive the boy. The attending doctor told the father that had the child been discovered a minute later he would have been beyond saving.

This was a timely reminder that "Charity saves from death" and that someone may give away a chicken and in return receive a child.

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