Dreaming of Moshiach

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Investment in Charity

The following true emotional story is a perfect example of:
שלח לחמך על פני המים, כי ברוב הימים תמצאנו
"Send your bread forth upon the waters; for after many days you will find it"
Be generous and invest in acts of charity because charity yields high returns.

Professor Arthur Mills is an expert heart surgeon and owns a large medical center in the Unites States that employs a large number of staff including doctors and nurses. The following is his story:

I became an orphan at a very young age. I was a single son and my mother raised me in the Crown Heights neighborhood of NY. We were a very poor family. Before my father's untimely death, my mother was a housewife but when my dad died, we were left without any monetary security and my mother had to go out to work. Although my mom worked very hard as a maid, she earned pennies. With the little we had, my mother managed to dress me with clean clothing and every day before going to the neighborhood school, I'd be meticulously dressed and coiffed.

There were days I didn't eat breakfast because we couldn't afford to buy bread and the refrigerator remained empty. "When you will return home from school, I will prepare you a delicious meal," my mother would comfort me. On those days, my mother sent me to school with a banana or an apple to eat during recess.

I was in fourth grade, only 10 years old, when one day I left my house very hungry because there was nothing to eat since the day before. My mother gave me a sugar cube and promised me that when I'll return from school, I'll have bread to eat. The sugar cube only caused my hunger pangs to increase and I felt I was collapsing. Although I was an "A" student and never missed a class, during recess I decided that I'm not returning to class and instead, I'll search for food, even in the garbage bins. No one knew about our misery, not my teachers or friends. My mother instructed me to keep it a secret.

I wondered away from the school gates so that no one will notice me. My stomach was growling with hunger and I was thinking how to find food. Suddenly a thought popped into my mind. I thought 'what will happen if I knock on a door in one of the buildings and ask for a piece of bread. No one knows me and I'll take the piece of bread and run back to school.' And that's how the hunger led me to a random building. I walked into the stairway and saw 2 doors, one on the right and one on the left. On the right door was a picture of a leopard and it scared me so I approached the door on the left. I looked up and saw by the doorbell the name Morris Jackson.

I knocked lightly on the door and simoutaneously, my heart was knocking. I expected the front door to be opened by Mrs. Jackson. In my imagination I saw a large heavy woman and very kind who will give me a piece of bread.

The door opened and behind the door stood a young girl approximately my age. She was very pale, 2 braids, and was wearing a white dress with pink collar. She seemed surprised to see me.

"I thought the mailman was knocking on the door," she said, "Who are you?" she asked. I felt embarrassed, how am I going to ask her for a piece of bread. What will she think about me? Maybe I'll bump into her tomorrow on the street? Maybe she goes to my school and I never noticed her before? What is she doing at home at this hour, shouldn't she be in school?

"Ummmm, I am really thirsty and could not find water. Would you be so kind to offer me a glass of water?" I asked her.

She laughed in a friendly matter and said, "By us we don't drink water, only milk. Would you like milk?" "Yes please, if you don't mind, I'll drink milk," I quickly answered.

It's been a long time since I drank milk. The little milk we had in the refrigerator was for my mother's coffee. The little girl walked away but left the door wide open. Within seconds she returned with a glass of water and in her other hand was a plate filled with 4 cookies.

"By us, we eat cookies while drinking milk," she said with a big sweet smile and offered me the plate of cookies. I was shocked. With a shaking hand, I took a cookie and with the other hand, I took the glass of milk. While I was drinking, the little girl introduced herself, "My name is Roslyn, and yours?"

Instead of answering her, I asked if I may have another cookie, "The cookies are delicious." "I brought you 4 cookies, all for you," she sweetly replied with a freindly smile.

I devoured the cookies, while silently praying she will not inquire my name again. I asked her why she was home today and she told me she was sick and her parents told her to stay home, "It happens to me a lot that I get sick," she said in a sad voice.

"And you are home alone?" I asked. "No, my grandmother is with me, she's upstairs."
"Thank you," I told her, "I've got to leave now," and made a quick exit to the staircase.

I heard her saying to me, "But you didn't tell me your name," but I preferred not to reply and hurried back to school.

Many years passed since....

I finished elementary school and entered high school. Towards the end of my senior year, I received a full scholarship to the university. I decided to learn medicine and hoped to become a doctor.

I married my wife and she too is a professional doctor for the heart. I established a large medical center and took care of thousands of patients. Today I am recognized as a very famous heart surgeon. My wife and I and our 3 children live in wealth.

In the medical center which I own, I made a rule that every patient that comes for treatment at the center must be greeted by my professional staff and they must do all medical examinations necessary for the patient.

One morning, a medical chart was handed to me and I noticed the name "Roslyn Jackson" appeared on it. I was shocked. Could this be her? Her name was embedded in my memory all these years besides the fact that I was endowed with an excellent memory.

"Where is the patient?" I asked the staff. They were a little shocked with my question, "I want to see her immediately," and I walked out of my office, leaving my staff behind in shock.

I entered the unit and turned to the nurse, "Where is Ms. Jackson's bed?" I asked. The nurse was not used to seeing me because whenever I would come to the ward, I was surrounded by doctors who would take care of all the details. "Mrs. Jackson is very ill and she is currently in the emergency room," the surprised nurse replied.

I quietly entered the emergency room and saw Roslyn laying on the bed, connected to machines. I looked at her and she at me. Of course she didn't recognize me at all and me too, I was not sure if it was her.

"Where are you from?" I asked her.
"Crown Heights," she replied.
"What is your father's name?" I asked.
"Morris, Morris Jackson. Why do you want to know? Did you know him?" Roslyn asked. When she smiled, I remembered the same beautiful smile when she was 10 years old offering me milk and cookies.

Tears flooded my eyes and I quickly left the room.

Roslyn received treatment in my medical center while I supervised her every treatment. She didn't know who I was and my entire staff did not understand my sudden interest in this 60 year old ill patient. She was approximately the same age I was.

The medical center would charge patients for treatments besides what their health insurance paid because my medical center is considered private. The payments would sometimes be tens of thousands of dollars. At the end of a patient's stay, treatments, and surgery, the medical secretary writes the total amount due in the patient's chart. Roslyn was at my medical center for 2 months and her payment bill due to us was $52,300.00

When her chart was given to me to look over and as it was customary for me to sign the final signature, I wrote under the payment due, "This payment was already received 50 years ago with a glass of milk and 4 delicious cookies. Professor A. Mills."

Roslyn was born with a heart murmur and died a few months ago. It is my hope that the surgery I performed on her added 5 more years to her life. Now that she passed away, I bring to you my story.




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והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו