Tinges of pink and orange outlined the clouds. Shekiah was fast approaching. Reb Moshe quickened his pace. He wanted to make it to the Kosel in time for Kabbalas Shabbos.
Suddenly, he realized that the envelope was in his suit pocket. He had forgotten to take it out in his rush to leave the house. Inside lay $3,000 – no small figure for a modest man like him.
What should I do?, he thought, his heart beating in pace with his panic. In just a few moments, it will be Shabbos! There was no time for Moshe to return home. Perhaps there is some heter, some way I could carry the money without really touching it….
But, no. Moshe really knew it was not possible. Still, he could not fathom losing such a large sum. Without thinking too deeply, he ran over to the first house he saw, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and knocked loudly at the door. I’ve got nothing to lose, he reasoned. My other choice is leaving the envelope on the street, where it will almost certainly be lost forever.
Naftali, an American Jew, opened the door. Moshe apologized hastily for bothering so close to Shabbos and stammered, “Um… Can I ask you a favor? I have an envelope with $3,000 on me. Can you watch it for me until after Shabbos?”
“With pleasure!” Naftali replied. Then he commented, “Interesting… What a rich man! Carrying $3,000 in your pocket – not bad!”
“Nah! I’m no rich man,” Moshe rebutted. “Just the opposite. Marrying off my children left me with a deficit. This envelope is actually from a loan I took from a gemach.”
Naftali nodded solemnly. He put the envelope in a safe place and Moshe left, hoping sincerely that he had left his treasure with the right person.
On Motzei Shabbos, Moshe and Naftali met at the Kosel. Together, they walked to Naftali’s home. Naftali handed Moshe the envelope, and Moshe took it happily. He was about to place it in his pocket, but something felt strange. The envelope seemed thicker than it had been when he dropped it off. He removed the bills and counted them one by one. A total of $6,000!
“Uh… Excuse me,” Moshe said, “I left with you $3,000, not six.”
“Right,” Naftali responded with a smile on his face. “I’ll tell you the story. This past Thursday night, a relative of mine brought me $3,000. He told me it was from his ma’aser money and he wasn’t sure what to do with it. He was looking for a worthy cause. He asked me to give it over to a worthy Jew who could use the money. When I saw you and the special devotion you showed to shemiras Shabbos, I knew the money belongs to you.”
Moshe returned home with an envelope that had doubled in size. With striking clarity, he perceived that for doing the will of Hashem, one can never lose, but only stands to gain.
Yes, he had placed a deposit. And the withdrawal was marked by doubled reward. His investment had paid off!