The Ropshitzer Rebbe returned home after giving his sermon in the synagogue. His wife asked him, “How was the sermon?” He answered, “I had a fifty percent success. I taught the importance of the rich giving charity to the poor, and I was able to convince the poor to be willing to receive it.”
Leah, one of Rebbe Shlomo’s followers Related: We live in an avocado grove in California. The fruit is harvested by Mexican men and then brought to the market. One morning I noticed a poor Mexican man dragging himself up the road. As I watched him approach all I could hear in my head was Rebbe Shlomo saying, “The greatest thing in the world is to do someone else a favor.”
During this period the immigration service was fining growers $1,000 if they found illegal immigrants working. I went down and greeted him in Spanish, “Mister, are you hungry?”
He slowly moved his head up and with dark sunken eyes he stared at me. “Yes, I am hungry.”
“Sir, do you want to work too?” He said that he did. I showed him where to begin working and went into the house to get him some food. A few minutes later, I came back with food for him.
As I approached him I felt that I was approaching a different person. His body stance had changed, he no longer seemed to be carrying that enormous weight on his shoulders. My heart started to pound. He began to speak to me in perfect English. “I am an Immigration Officer. I was sent here to find illegals and grove owners who are employing them. You approached me with so much respect and love that I didn’t know what to do. When you asked me if I wanted anything to eat, I wanted to cry. I couldn’t fine you, yet I couldn’t go. I was going to leave before you came back, but I need to thank you for showing me so much sincere kindness and reminding me of who I am.”
There is a phrase from the Talmud: “Even if the sword is on your neck, don’t refrain from rachamim.” This is usually interpreted, “Don’t stop praying and asking GYd for compassion.” Reb Berish Aushpetziner interpreted it differently: “What do you do at the last minute if the sword is on your neck? At that moment the only thing you can do is to have compassion for somebody else. Then you open gates in Heaven for compassion, and it can come to you too.”
A person has to live in two worlds. We have to live in a world where there is evil and we are fighting it, and we have to live in a world where there is no evil like after the Mashiach has come. The highest combination of these two worlds is rachamim. This means that I can see you the way you are now, but I also know how you could be on the Mashiach level.
Charity is more than giving to the poor; you can’t live without it.
The Maharal says: A miser is not a sinner. A miser is anti–GYd. If I do a little sinning on the side, I am bad, but I am not anti–GYd. A miser is anti–GYd because GYd is giving, and the miser is not giving.
You pray to GYd all the time. Have you ever heard GYd answer: “Listen, you prayed to me yesterday. Will you leave Me alone? Let Me go, leave Me in peace. Sometimes I need a vacation from you.”