The Right Amount
 
Saturday, September 26, 2020 - 8 Tishrei 5781
 
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The Right Amount
The siren suddenly blaring through the streets of Kiryat Malachi one fateful Thursday morning was a sign of impending trouble. Shortly afterwards, a three-story residential building sustained a direct hit from a Grad missile fired by Hamas terrorists based in the Gaza Strip. Among the four people killed was Mrs. Mira Rut Scharf (may G-d avenge her blood), mother of three young children and emissary of the Rebbe in the distant city of New Delhi, India.

In addition to their other demanding outreach activities, Rabbi Shmuel and his wife Mira (may G-d avenge her blood) were busy with the construction of a kosher mikveh in New Delhi. The difficult conditions in India led to an extremely slow and cautious building process. For example, digging pits was done by hand, and the sand was removed by a team of donkeys. Even preparing the concrete was done manually, without the standard mixers used in most developed countries.

The construction was nearly complete when tragedy struck.

Rabbi Scharf spent several agonizing months in physical rehabilitation for the injuries he suffered in the Grad missile attack. During this difficult period, he made certain that his children, cruelly deprived of their mother, received continuous and loving care.

Despite this unfortunate situation, the Chabad House in New Delhi kept up its operations on a daily basis, around the clock with replacement rabbis. In fact, the Chabad House was not closed for a single day. This is the will of the Rebbe, and this undoubtedly is what Mira Rut would have wanted. But the mikveh project was stalled. Rabbi Scharf simply did not have the physical energy to complete the fundraising efforts.

After his rehabilitation, Rabbi Scharf returned to India on a visit to update himself on the status of local Chabad activities. He also wanted to make a serious reappraisal of the possibility of returning to the Indian capital together with his children.

At the conclusion of his visit, Rabbi Shmuel headed back to Israel. The plane made a stopover in Bombay, where he prepared to board another flight. He was walking about the airport when he suddenly felt someone place his hand gently on his shoulder.

“Shalom Aleichem,” came a pleasant voice behind him.

Rabbi Shmuel turned around and saw a Jewish man standing before him. The two began a brief discussion, and Rabbi Shmuel discovered that the man was a respected entrepreneur who spent most of the year on business in India and actively supported the Chabad Houses throughout the country.

They talked for a little while longer, when suddenly the businessman asked, “Rabbi Shmuel, how can I help you?”

The shliach didn’t have to think long. He was very troubled over the situation with the unfinished mikveh. While the construction was reaching its final stages, a most important component still remained – the filter and purification system for the immersion pool.

“How much?” the businessman asked.

“Three thousand dollars,” the shliach replied, forgetting momentarily that there were still a few things left to finish in the building phase.

“Tell me,” the businessman inquired with a strange flicker in his eyes. “When was the last time you were in the Bombay airport?”

Rabbi Shmuel furrowed his brow as he thought for a moment. “I think it was seven years ago.”

The businessman’s expression suddenly changed.

“I also don’t come into this terminal very often,” he said. “Even when I escorted my mother to the airport, I let her off at the terminal entrance and continued on my way. Today, for some reason, I decided to accompany a friend to the airport and inside the terminal itself – something that I haven’t done for years. A few minutes after we parted from one another, I suddenly meet you in the terminal and you tell me about the urgent need for a filter costing $3,000.”

Then the businessman suddenly dropped a “bombshell.”

“You won’t believe the answer I received this morning from the Rebbe.”

“From the Rebbe?”

“Yes, indeed,” said the businessman. “I woke up this morning very worried over some major delays in one of my business deals. I didn’t know what to do, and so I decided to write a letter to the Rebbe. I opened the volume of ‘Igros Kodesh,’ the Rebbe’s published letters, that I take with me everywhere. The answer was as follows:

…In accordance with the fact that this month is the month of miracles, and these are days of miracles, salvations, and wonders, the amount should be set as per his first charitable contribution, corresponding to all the mitzvos – three thousand shekels.

This time, it was the Rabbi’s turn to be left speechless. The circumstances, the request, even the amount he had picked out of thin air (while the cost of the filter was much greater) – everything matched the reply this businessman had received from the Rebbe just a few hours earlier.

The facility is almost ready for actual usage, with only small tasks left to finish, such as setting up the ventilation system and putting the final touches on the building process. Only $4,500 is needed to cover all outstanding expenses. Those interested in giving their support to this project can contact Rabbi Shmuel Scharf by calling 972-58-670-7700 or sending an e-mail to 770delhi@gmail.com.
 

 


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