Gone. The money was gone. I bit my lips and felt my eyes fill with tears. This was hard earned money that I received from a client whom I had worked for all month. It wasn’t physical work, but I had worked hard mentally and emotionally for many hours- but the money was gone and I needed it for so many things.
“Yossi, the exterminator was here this afternoon,” I told my husband. “He told me I should take the children outside so we wouldn’t breathe in the chemicals. He must have taken the money.”
“He’s a religious man,” my husband countered immediately. “It is forbidden to suspect him.””Ok, I take it back. He should be blessed,” I muttered. “But I wish I knew where that money was.”
“Maybe you put it in your pocket?” my helpful husband suggested.
I checked again. No money.
“Maybe you changed clothes?”
“You don’t remember that I’ve been wearing this outfit all day?” No, of course he didn’t remember since he never noticed in the first place. Again I searched the house, again, my pockets, again, my pocketbook. I went through every place I thought the money could be. Hashem, I NEED that money. Tears started spilling down my cheeks.
Wait, let’s change gears, I told myself. This happened at a time when the news often reported suicide bombings on buses. Think what could have happened. If it was decreed that we suffer, at least it’s through money and not through - I don’t want to even think of it. I’m healthy, my husband and children are healthy!
Gratitude actually started seeping into my heart. Thank you, Hashem, for all the good you constantly shower on us! A family, a home, the privilege of living here in Eretz Yisrael! Hashem, you know our financial situation. If You could somehow get that money back to us? And now that I mention it, two years ago, my gold bracelet disappeared, too. If I had it, I could sell it and maybe get some money that way but thank you for not decreeing something worse on us. I trust You, Hashem, You can do anything, and I accept Your decree with love!I felt full of joy, and suddenly my mind cleared and I remembered that although I had been wearing this outfit when the client paid me I had been wearing my coat over it!
I hurried over to the hook in our front closet, stuck my hand into the pocket and felt my fingers close over crisp bills. Baruch Hashem!
That evening, my husband’s cousin was making a bar mitzva for her son. It was before Chanukah and, believe me, I had what to do at home. Well, I guessed I could drop in for a few minutes, say mazel tov, and disappear. I arrived at the hall, and saw that it was almost empty. As I said, this was at the time of the Pigu’im and many people preferred not to go out. There were a grand total of four women sitting at the ladies’ tables. So much for a cameo in-and-out appearance. I sat down, and because I was still under the influence of what had happened earlier, I told the women about the Hashgacha Pratis I had experienced with the lost-and-found money.
My husband’s cousin listened, wide-eyed. When I finished, she said, “That reminds me. I have a gold bracelet that someone left at my Binyomin’s bar mitzva five years ago. I asked everyone I thought could have lost it, if it was theirs. I feel so bad every time I look at it and think of the poor soul who lost it.”
I started laughing. “I also lost a bracelet, but it was only two years ago.”
“Well, Binyomin is now 18, so I know his bar mitzva was five years ago. Also,” she examined my wrist, “the bracelet was much bigger than your size.”
“It was big on me,” I agreed. “That’s why it fell off.”
The next day, my husband’s cousin called me up, and held the bracelet in her hand as I described it. On Chanukah she came by with my bracelet (the five years that had gone by had telescoped in my mind to two years – everyone makes mistakes), but the real gift was the new knowledge of the power of prayer, of Hashem’s love and how He concerns Himself with each individual, and of the importance of joy.
Happy Chanukah To All!