“Abba!” Shiri called as she bounced into the kitchen. “I need 150 shekels!”
Mr. Cohen placed his fork on his plate and looked up at his twelve-year-old daughter. “What for, Shiri?”
It was the end of June, just before the onset of summer vacation, or the “chofesh gadol” as Israelis like to call it, and Mr. Cohen was eating his lunch.
“For the end-of-the-year school trip. Our class is going up North.”
With a look of compassion in his eyes, Mr. Cohen stammered, “Right now… uh… there is no extra money…” He sighed.
Peeling paint and mismatched chairs were not the only signs of deprivation in the Cohen’s Yerushalmi home.
But Shiri was adamant. “Abba! I need it. Everyone is going on the trip and I must bring the money by tomorrow!”
“Look, even if you really, really need it, the money won’t appear in my wallet. Right now, I just don’t have the cash.”
“But what should I do?!” Shiri looked ready to cry.
“Daven. Daven to Hashem. Hashem is our Father and He has loads of money. Ask Him, just like you asked me. ”
Shiri dutifully positioned herself in a corner of the room. She closed her eyes and raised her arms upward. Her father overheard her pure words, uttered in a quiet, innocence-filled voice.
“Abba in Shamayim! I am Your daughter. And I need 150 shekels for our school trip. Please, please can You give it to me?”
Mr. Cohen finished his lunch and went into his room for a midday nap. When he returned, merely an hour later, he heard loud, joyful exclamations.
Before he could even ask what had happened, twelve-year-old Shiri ran up to him. “Abba! He sent it to me!”
“Who sent?! Sent what?”
“Our Abba in Shamayim sent me the money for the trip!” She shoved an unaddressed white envelope into her father’s hand. Inside were two crisp bills. A 100-shekel note and a 50-shekel note. Exactly the amount Shiri needed for her trip.
“Unbelievable! But how? Where did you get this from?”
Shiri explained that throughout the year, she had been going to a tutor for a certain subject at school. Her father had paid upfront for the entire year. At some point, Shiri had improved and no longer needed the extra tutoring help.
“Just now, the tutor’s daughter knocked in with this envelope. She said her mother had made a cheshbon and determined that we had overpaid by 150 shekels.”
Yes, our Father in Heaven hears the cries of His children. Lucky are those who have the clarity to know to ask!
* * *
On a similar note, here is a story that took place a mere few weeks ago, in Yerushalayim as well.
Chana entered the dining room and stopped short. Something was strange.
Forehead creased in concentration, lips mumbling silently, her father was pacing the room restlessly. Back and forth, back and forth, he moved from one end of the dining room to the other.
Unable to control her curiosity, Chana finally blurted out, “Abba! What’s the matter? Is something wrong?”
It was two weeks before Chana’s wedding. Finances were always tight in their home, but Mr. Karsnitzky always retained a calm veneer – at least on the outside. The situation always seemed under control. But now as they neared the wedding of their third daughter in very close succession, there was no money.
“Nothing…” Mr. Karsnitzky said as he continued his caged-in-style pacing.
Chana wasn’t deterred.
“Really, Abba, what’s going on? Is there anything I could do to help?”
“I’m afraid not.” Mr. Karsnitzky replied. He paused for a long moment and then decided to share. “It’s the bank. I need to deposit $5000 today. Urgently. I’ve exhausted all my sources. I tried every gemach in Yerushalayim, but no one wants to extend a loan. You see, I still have balances from Avigail’s wedding and Tzivia’s…”
He let out an exaggerated sigh.
Now Chana was truly worried. It was so unlike her father to display such anxiety. The situation must be really bad. Was there a solution? Was there any way she could help out?
“Abba, I wish there was something I could do…”
“There is, Chana. You see, right now, I am talking to Hashem, our benevolent and capable Father. The more I pour out my heart to Him, the more I actually feel like I am fully in His hands. He will take care of us!” He turned to face his daughter, “You can daven, too.”
That afternoon, Chana decided to take a bus to the Kosel. There, under the open blue sky, before the ancient, holy stones, the heaviness on her heart would surely be lifted.
As she passed the mailboxes on her way out of their apartment building, she noticed an envelope half-sticking out of their box. She took it and skipped back up the stairs to their home, placing it at her father’s place at the dining room table. Then she turned and went back down and out of the building to the nearest bus stop.
When Chana returned home, her father was sitting at the table. With a smile on his face, he shared the exciting news with her.
That solid white envelope – sealed and addressed to Mr. Karsnitzky, sender unknown – contained exactly $5000!