The Simple Jew
This is another one of many kinds of crisis cases of the second generation of assimilated parents that we handle in Lehava: Mother Jewish, father Arab, and a Jewish girl in between. We won’t deal in this column with the formation of the relationship between them, which mercifully has ended, but with the battle that the end of this relationship created: The battle over the girl; the ultra-important and just battle to leave that girl in the sole custody of her mother, and in this way, in fact, to leave her Jewish.
In the legal battle, we were required last week to submit a request for the right to appeal in court for the purpose of obtaining custody of the girl only by the mother, as I pointed out. Submitting such a request requires an immediate deposit of a large sum of money with the court, an amount of money we do not have at this time. It should be noted that this is a deposit to be returned a few months later by the court.
I turned to more and more wealthy people I know to ask for help, while emphasizing to them that this wasn’t a donation but a sum of money that would be returned to them later, when I knew well that for them, this was really a paltry amount of money. But each one of them, for his own justifiable reason, refused politely to help at that time. At this stage, I had no idea what to do and couldn’t think where to get the money from – the urgency to obtain it was great. But salvation from Hashem can come in the blink of an eye: I suddenly got a phone call from a dear Jew, a simple man who works for a living and donates to us with a modest standing bank order every month. A few days prior to the call, I included that Jew just by chance in my plea, and on the details of the urgent request that we were required to submit. I couldn’t believe he called me for that purpose. But he excitedly and festively informed me that he has been saving a certain amount of money for a long time that he didn’t need at the moment, and that he would gladly send it for the appeal and get it back in a few months, of course when it was refunded by the court. That Jew, how can we say, is not rich, to put it mildly. I told him that maybe he should wait and I’ll keep trying to get the money in other ways. But he was firm in his opinion, and was not willing to hear this: “You need this money now, I don’t. I’m sending it to you now, whatever happens”, he told me.
The money was sent, the request for the right of appeal was submitted, and we are all praying for success in the hearing so that the girl can grow up as a Jew. The moral and lesson of this small, wonderful story is that these simple Jews, those who don’t have a lot of money and are far from being wealthy, who earn a modest living but have a warm Jewish heart and soul and dedicate much of their modest funds for the success of Jewish children – they are the truly wealthy ones. Because to be wealthy does not just mean to have a lot of money, but in the words of our sages: “He is happy with his lot”. And we add: And makes the proper and healthy use of his lot to literally rescue Jewish souls.
published in “matzav haruach”.