As the year comes to an end and with it the cycle of the reading of the weekly Parsha, we approach the portion that contains the last commandment of the 613 mitzvos given to us at Sinai. Veato kitvu lachem es hashira hazos…, the mitzva of kesivas Sefer Torah, writing or having a sofer (scribe) write a Torah scroll upon order.
How many of us have the merit to present a Sefer Torah to a shul and experience the joy of fulfilling this very special mitzvah? Life has so many duties. The expenses and costs of daily existence are overwhelming as it is. It feels as if the myriad obligations we carry do not allow such an extravagance. It is no secret that writing a sefer Torah is an extremely expensive pleasure that most people can’t afford.
So, how did we do it? What was the trick that enabled us, a family exposed to the daily worries of making ends meet, turn a dream into reality?
Let me share with you the backbone of the idea that formed into my mind and eventually made the “fata morgana” come true.
May I preface by saying that I advocate the following and apply it in many instances: whenever something seems too big to swallow, figuratively cut the cake into chunks- small bits are always easier to digest. That was the underlying idea behind this new project I undertook.
I decided to enroll the family at large and put no time pressure on those involved. At that stage the entire extended family numbered approximately 50 couples of married children and grandchildren belonging to the same tree. I offered a Parsha for sale for $600 spread over -mind you(!), 10 years! Who can’t put $60 aside each year to participate in a project that great! Everyone jumped in, 10 years later we were ready and danced together at the very memorable event of something we had succeeded to bring into creation, penny by penny with combined effort. Add to this the benefit of being united in a common mission and heading towards a joint goal and you can maybe get an appreciation of the heavenly taste we savored when the long-awaited day arrived.
Everyone belongs somewhere. It can be members of one family, but on the same token it can be a social group, members of a common shiur, congregants of a shul, a team affiliated with an organization, you name it… The point is: just get started. If your intentions are pure you will see that all the obstacles disappear and make place for a wonderful solidarity. The outcome is grandiose…
Let me tell you even more. Something I firmly believe in for having seen it materialize time and again. Whenever someone is ready to undertake a project, never mind the scope (very often bigger than one can handle) granted that the intentions are good, Hashem is there to support and stretch His arm out to crown the mission with success.
It is my privilege to share the following Providential Hasgacha Pratis story with you. The week following my decision to start the above-mentioned project and having received a blessing from the Rabbi my husband was close with, I contacted the family members I planned on including and threw the bomb! I can’t deny the fact that some were skeptical, wondering if it would work.
That is when Heaven gently motioned to us, a wink that convinced the clan. My brother who still lives in Belgium contacted me to relate the following: “Last week,” he said,” I met one of the neighbors who had lived in the same apartment building that my late parents had occupied before departing this world.” The neighbor related to him that he had wanted to contact him, since an envelope addressed to my late parents had been lying around, for a few days already, next to the mailboxes at the entrance of the building.
My brother was extremely surprised since my father (who had outlived my mother) wasn’t with us for over 10 years! Who could be trying to get in touch with someone who had departed this world over 10 years ago? His curiosity aroused, he went over to the address where my parents had resided and sure enough found the letter. The sender was the bank my father had kept an account in during his lifetime. The contents ran as follows: We hereby inform you that your father’s account shows a credit of $2,000 and would appreciate if you could contact us re the above…
The message made no sense. After my father’s petira (passing away) we obviously had emptied the account, I can assure you this was done thoroughly, after which we closed the account. Over all these years there had never been any attempt made by the bank to contact us. Everything had been cleared and straightened out years ago.
The next day my brother, equipped with the letter, went to the bank. The clerk thanked him for showing up and handed him the above-mentioned amount. There was no information regarding the source, but the clerk was very convincing- the money was there and was intended for the heirs.
We were all flabbergasted. Out of nowhere money had appeared into a closed account. It just didn’t make sense. On common agreement all siblings decided that this would serve as the basis for the new-born project, the writing of our Sefer Torah! Believe me, it wasn’t the amount. That was only a drop in the bucket. It was the sign that Heaven had granted us that infused us with the enthusiasm required to get started.
May this story serve as an inspiration for many more Sifrei Torah!