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BlogElul Day 28: Give

A story I once read:
“A wealthy man lived a good life, and died, and was pleased to find himself at the gates to heaven. The gates opened a crack and an angel came through and welcomed him.

At that moment, the gates burst wide open, and a throng of angels came pouring out of heaven and ran up to another soul who had just arrived. This man was dressed humbly, but the angels lifted him up on their shoulders, and carried him in past the gates of heaven to great fanfare.

“Who,” asked the wealthy man, “was that? A great priest or holy man? A king?”

“You know him, actually,” said the angel. “That’s Yonkel the butcher.”

“YONKEL?!?!” exclaimed the wealthy man, “He was a NOBODY. He could barely make ends meet. He was unlettered. He donated next to nothing. How is it that he gets that kind of reception where I – and I say this with complete humility – donated several life savings to charitable causes, built schools, and directly supported hundreds of Talmud scholars?”

The angel smiled and asked, “In the town where you and Yonkel lived, do you remember hearing dogs barking at night?”

The man was thoughtful for a moment and then said, “Come to think of it, no.”

“That’s because of Yonkel. Each night he put out the leftover scraps of meat so that the dogs had something in their belly when they went to sleep. You donated – generously, willingly, happily -but only when asked. Yonkel gave to those who couldn’t ask before they even had a chance to bark.”

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