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Right on the Money

“If Hashem wants us to have the money, we will have it”



Yosef and Miriam have been married for over 45 years, and are now enjoying living in their empty nest. They have never been wealthy, as Yosef works as a bookkeeper and Miriam is a homemaker. They rent their two-bedroom apartment and have never even entertained the prospect of buying a house. They live frugally and  have never wanted more than they have.

Miriam was Yosef’s perfect match as she, too, was “samei’ach b’chelkah”— happy with her lot.

Spending two nights during the summer at Oppenheimer’s Regis Hotel in Fleischmanns, New York, has been their annual vacation for the last 30 years.

Every day Yosef goes off to his bookkeeping job in Manhattan, and Miriam takes care of the house and prepares dinner.

One afternoon Miriam decided to clean off the top of the fridge. As she reached for the top, balancing on the step stool, she slipped, and down she fell, landing hard on her shoulder.

Miriam waited until Yosef came home to tell him what had occurred. Yosef drove Miriam to the hospital, and she was told she had broken her collarbone and would have to be in a sling for six weeks. She was also informed that sleeping on a recliner for the next six weeks would help her sleep better.

Yosef and Miriam had not bought a new piece of furniture in decades. But the doctor said it would be helpful.

Finally, Miriam approached Yosef and said, “Yosef, I have looked at our finances long and hard, and I think we could swing the $350 needed to purchase a recliner. It would be really good for me.”

Yosef did not hesitate as he said, “Of course we should buy it! People have to fargin themselves some nice things as well. Go ahead and order it.”

Miriam was very excited, and after looking at different models, she decided on the one she wanted. She waited until Yosef came home from work to show it to him before ordering.

Yosef was delighted that Miriam had picked out a nice recliner. Miriam told him that she would order it first thing in the morning.

That night, around nine, Mrs. Biderstein, the upstairs tenant, came down to schmooze with Miriam. Mrs. Biderstein was an almanah who lived from month to month on her Social Security check.

In the middle of the conversation, Mrs. Biderstein blurted out, “I went to the dentist today, and I need a root canal done. Even with my Medicare and Medicaid, I still have to pay him $350, and I hate borrowing from my children.”

Without any hesitation, Miriam pulled out her checkbook and wrote a check for $350 to Mrs. Biderstein.

When Mrs. Biderstein protested, Miriam said, “Believe me, we did not need that money to live on!”

That evening, Miriam told Yosef what transpired with Mrs. Biderstein and why she would not be ordering the recliner. Yosef nodded and did not say a word.

A week later, it was Miriam’s birthday. Usually, Yosef brought home a bouquet. However, this time he came home empty-handed. After dinner, Yosef asked Miriam to close her eyes and led her into the living room.

“Happy birthday!” he announced.

When Miriam opened her eyes, she was stunned. “How can we afford this?”

“If Hashem wants us to have the money, we will have it,” Yosef assured her.

Miriam was delighted with her new recliner.

A few days later, Yosef came home with a big smile on his face. Every month, all the bookkeepers who have finished their monthly quotas participate in a raffle, and this month Yosef had won the raffle.

Can you guess how much money was in the pot this month?

Correct. Exactly $350.

As Yosef said, “If Hashem wants you to have the money, you will have it.”


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 879)

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