CHASSIDISHE STORY ON THE PARSHA
את כספך לא תתן לו בנשך (בהר כה: לז)Do not give him your money for interest.
A renowned wealthy merchant came to the Chasam Sofer zt’’l and requested an urgent meeting. The Chasam Sofer welcomed him into his private room, where the rich person cried and wailed about his present destitute financial situation. He lost all his money and owed lots of money to fellow Yidden. “I’m at my wit’s end,” he lamented to the Chasam Sofer.
The Chasam Sofer listened and offered words of strength and consolation. After the merchant calmed down, he told the Chasam Sofer that the yearly Leipzig Marketplace, where he used to conduct business dealings, was taking place soon, but he didn’t have money with what to do business, and if he didn’t attend the Fair, people would surmise that perhaps he doesn’t have any money, and all his lenders will come and request their money back.
The Chasam Sofer took out one hundred gilden (the land’s currency at the time) and handed it to the merchant as a loan to enable him to travel to Leipzig. He also blessed him that Hashem should help him be successful.
At the fair, the merchant found a friend ready to sell him vast quantities of coffee on a 30-day payment plan at the marketplace. He purchased the coffee, resold it at a profit, and earned a couple of thousand gilden. He continued sales and was highly profitable, more than ever before.
When the merchant returned to Pressburg, he visited the Chasam Sofer to pay back his debt of a hundred gilden. In addition, he presented the Chasam Sefer with a beautiful gold ‘tabak pushka’ adorned with a beautiful diamond. The Chasan Sofer accepted the tabak pushka joyfully and gently caressed the piece in his hands, absorbing its beauty. Then, the Chasan Sofer returned the tabak puskha to the merchant and said: “I never saw such a beautiful tabak pushka with such exquisite gem; I wish you should use it happily.”
The merchant was surprised. “I purchased it for the Rebbe!” The Chasam Sofer replied, “If I wouldn’t have lent you the hundred gilden, then I would have perhaps accepted it as a gift, but after lending you the money, I can’t accept the gift from you due to the prohibition of ריבית – interest.”
After the merchant left the Chasam Sofer’s home, his talmidim asked, “Why did the Rebbe cradle the tabak pushka in his hand for so long and awed over its beauty?” The Chasam Sofer smiled and replied, “I received a worthy object and rejoiced in the mitzvah that I saw what I was giving up to keep the mitzvah of Ribbis – for when do I get the opportunity to fulfill such a mitzvah!”
Filed under Parshas Bhar |