Approximately 30 days before Shavuos, my fondest friend, Joshua, a prominent diamond importer, invited me to his Fifth Avenue office. “Chaim, I want to show you a beautiful stone. Maybe you have a customer, and I am sure you could use the broker’s commission” (usually not more than two percent).
Before continuing, I am taking a step back to fill you in on my little-peg status in the gigantic wholesale jewelry business.
I wasn’t a diamond dealer or broker. My specialty was selling precious colored stones, specifically rubies, sapphires and emeralds.
As I entered Joshua’s second security door, I looked up at his strategically mounted camera and gave him a hello wave so he would buzz me into his private, well-lit office. “Shalom, Joshua.” My curiosity was heightened as he guided me over to his gigantic window overlooking Fifth Avenue.
Before handing me his little white stone envelope, he confessed to me that this stone has become a challenge to his previous successful buying skills, and thus he couldn’t turn it over in his customary one-two months. Instead, this diamond has gotten under his skin, and has been irritating him for over a year.
He carefully opened the envelope, handed it to me, and exclaimed, “Chaim, I know you are not knowledgeable of diamonds, so as you can see it is not a white diamond!”
As my eyes focused downward on this extremely large diamond (it weighed a little over ten carats), and as it changed hands into my domain, he said, “The color falls into a rare color classification: green-yellow.” (I later learned that had it been a yellow- green stone, it would have been more desirable and easier to sell.)
“Since you are a color-stone “meivin” (expert), I’m sure you recognize its beautiful color.” Unconsciously, this was an example of his inborn gift of salesmanship. “Yes,” I agreed, even though I didn’t recognize its beauty. To me, it looked like someone had left deli mustard out too long – turning it a greenish yellow.
I continued to scrutinize it, walked closer to the window, and focused my jeweler’s loop on its interior. There, smack in the heart of the stone, was a gigantic glitz.
“Josh,” I said hesitantly, not wanting to hurt his feelings, “it has a slight glitz, right in the center of the stone. Do I see right?” He replied, “Yes, Chaim, you see right. Maybe that’s why I haven’t sold it yet, and that’s the reason why I invited you here.”
“You mentioned this morning, coming in on the Monsey bus, that you have reserved a booth at the annual Colorstone Trade Show in Las Vegas.”
“That’s right. I will be flying out immediately after Shavuos, which will occur in about one month from now.”
“Chaim, I want you to take junior here with you to Vegas to try to sell it. Perhaps you will be my shaliach.” The price seemed reasonable, so I agreed to his terms. “Here, take it now.” He passed me the memo, the legal jewelry trade document that acts as a receipt, and signed it. I thanked him for giving me the opportunity to earn parnassah. “See you later on the bus, Chaim, and thank you,” he said.
The four weeks flew by, and just before Shavuos Joshua invited me to participate in all-night Torah learning with him in his shul. This was my first experience to stay up all night, and have a learned talmid chacham by my side. My Hebrew skills were very inadequate; however, Joshua took his time to explain every concept. When the sun smiled, I couldn’t believe the night had passed so quickly. I was on a metaphysical Torah high, together with Joshua my teacher.
My booth in the Convention Hall was in an ideal position, right next to the food court. I artistically placed my colored stones under the glass top for maximum eye appeal. In the center of my display I placed Josh’s stone on a bed of white cotton. I must admit that his ten-carat diamond really stood out amid all the supporting red, blue and greens.
The second day brought a stone dealer from Chicago to my booth who asked a lot of questions about the diamond. His last question, “Would you send it to me on memo [consignment] if I set up an appointment with my customer?” came as a surprise. I answered, “No problem, if your references check out.”
He gave me his card and a short list of New York stone dealers with whom he has established a track record. One of the names was a friend of mine with whom I have done some business. Shlome was a tough Israeli stone dealer who wouldn’t trust a weak, marginal credit risk. If he were doing business with this gentleman, his approval would be sufficient for me to FedEx it.
So after I returned to New York City, I visited Shlome. “Oh, so you met my customer from Chicago.” I detected his emotional jealousy – since his secret was revealed. “He is so good that you can sell the stone to me, and I will ship it and pay you immediately if he sells it.” I didn’t show my surprised internal reaction, as the total price would be more than $45,000. Why would he put himself at risk, without any profit motive? I quickly figured it out: he didn’t want another dealer to get close to his special customer.
Sure enough, Chicago called me and requested to have the stone for a few days.
I packed it, insured it, and carried it by hand to the closest FedEx office. They said that it should arrive in two days. And one week later, I got the call with the good news that it was sold (and there was no chiseling involved, a common act practiced by most New York City merchants). “I will send you my check after my customer check clears, usually within five days,” the caller said. “Thank you for all your help.”
I was indeed excited. I immediately called Joshua and told him that I had just made mazel and berachah on Junior, his tzuros stone, and I would have the payment in about a week.”
Joshua wasn’t too surprised. He later told me that he had emunah in Hashem, and emphasized the merit we gained on that Shavuos night! How else can we reconcile an unlikely event, after a yearlong try, of trying to sell an ugly green-yellow diamond with a glitz?
Somehow the color became beautiful, and the perfection became flawless.
Of course, as prophecy no longer exists, we have no absolute knowledge when God is acting, unless we witness a miracle, which is not the case here. But we also cannot say with complete knowledge that God was not involved in this case. If He was, this was yet another kindness and great deed from Hashem.
Finally, Joshua also said: “In Bereishis Hashem earmarked each and every stone He created, to be owned by a specific, designated individual.” (Of course, Hashem also decides who sells His stones.)
About the Author: George H. Gisser, known as the Monsey Maggid, recently published Happy Kappy – the Flying Kangaroo (Who couldn’t hop!) for four- to eight-year-olds. His new screenplay, “Snowbirds,” is a warm, Jewish-oriented fictional comedy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.kappythekangaroo.com.
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