by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
The woman sits there by the door of the grocery store. She looks a bit like an old bag woman, wrinkled skin and grey completion. She holds a small sign, "illness prevents me from working, please help me feed my children."
Purim morning she was in her accustomed place. People were hurrying in and out of the store, brushing past her like she wasn't there. They weren't being mean, and many even paused to drop in a shekel or two - not looking at her as they hurried to their errands.
My wife was YOUR shaliach, your messenger of Purim tzedakah (charity). She walked over and with a smile asked her how she was doing. Thank G-d, the woman said. My wife turned quietly to go and tried to slip a tightly rolled up set of bills into her collection cup - NIS 400, enough for a Purim seudah (festive meal) for her and her family (and maybe a bit left over for Shabbos).
The woman looked, her eyes widened and she grabbed my wife's hand. "What's this???" 'Matanos L'evyonim, Purim tzedakah.' The woman began to cry and shake, and started pouring blessings upon my wife. My wife said, 'I'm only the messenger, your blessings are for those from around the world who sent this for you.' The woman was crying as my wife walked away (so was my wife!), "people from around the world sent for my Purim???" --- Yes, you did. [FYI, NIS 400 ~= US $94]
They are an older couple. Honorable people, nice looking. He's a Torah scholar. You wouldn't know they were desperate unless you saw them going through scraps behind the bakery and vegetable stand, literally walking off with a few crusts of bread, maybe a small part of a moldy loaf that's salvageable, a part of a tomato that can be cut away. R. Nati knocked on his door, he answered and said "wait wait", and rummaged around the house to come back with 10 Agarot [~= US $0.02] to give to R. Nati. He assumed R. Nati had come to him as a tzedakah-charity collector, and he wasn't about to turn away someone who came to his door, giving from what he had!
As he started to hand R. Nati the single 10 Agarot coin, R. Nati turned his hand over and placed NIS 400 into the man's hand. The man looked down and said "what's this???". R. Nati said, "Purim Samayach", turned around and ran away. The man started to cry, yelling "wait wait" as R. Nati rounded the corner out of sight.
This Purim, he didn't have to make a seudah over a crust of bread because of YOUR help.
The woman was embarrassed, but she had no choice. Her husband had passed away a few years before, and now she is out of work. So she posted a note publicly which simply said, "Please help me feed my family this Purim". YOU fed her family this Purim.
Thank you. We continue to be stunned by the incredible generosity of our readers from all over the world. We were deeply honored to be your messenger of charity to the poor of Israel.
May Hashem grant you many blessings, simcha, parnossa, and blessings for your whole family in your many merits.
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BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא