זה יתנו…. (כי תשא ל:יג)
The Bobover Rebbe, Reb Shlome Halberstam zt’’l, used to spend the winter months in Palm Springs, California. He davened in the local Chabad Shul. One year, the Bobover Rebbe extended his stay over Shabbos Shekalim. He asked the Chabad Rav if he could recite the “Yotzros” before the Amud (extra prayers that some chassidim say) on Shabbos Shekalim, despite it not being customary in Chabad circles. But the Chabad Rav declined.
So one night, on his walk home from shul with some escorts, the Bobover Rebbe shared Divrei Torah on Parshas Shekalim, quoting the Noam Elimelech on Rashi’s words.
“הראה לו מטבע של אש” – that “מטבע” – money is like “אש” – fire. Just like fire can warm, it can also burn. The same is with money. One can use the money for worthy deeds or the opposite.
One of the escorts was Reb Shimon a’’h, a Belzer Chassid, who literally accepted the Bobover Rebbe’s words by thinking, ‘that with money I can accomplish good things!’ And seeing that the Bobover Rebbe was so distraught about not having the opportunity to say the ‘yotzros’ before the Amud on parshas shekalim, he devised a plan.
Reb Shimon approached the Chabad Rav and got into a shmooze, inquiring about his shul’s financial status. The Chabad Rav shared with him about their shul’s current economic struggle. On the spot, Reb Shimon gave him a generous donation to cover expenses, stipulating that the Chabad Rav should allow the Bobover Rebbe to recite the ‘yotzros’ that Shabbos.
Friday morning, Reb Shimon told the Bobover Rebbe that he persuaded the Chabad Rav to allow him to say the ‘yotzros.’ The Bobover Rebbe was ecstatic, and the Chabad Rav honored the Bobover Rebbe by saying the ‘yotzros’ on Shabbos.
When the davening was over, the Bobover Rebbe asked Reb Shimon how he accomplished this mission. Reb Shimon replied with a smile. “Rebbe, I showed him a “מטבע של אש” and arranged everything!” The Bobover Rebbe thanked him profusely and heaped Reb Shimon with brochos.
To note: The Chabad Rav, Harav Yonason Denenbeim, recounts that he wanted to ask the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s zt’’l on the matter on Friday, but it was too late. So he called the Rebbe’s gabbai, R’ Leibel Groner a’’h, on Sunday to ask if he did the right thing. The Lubavitcher Rebbe replied, “He did very good, and I (the Lubavitcher Rebbe) would also have said to do so…”