Money Comes and Goes, G-d is Forever
My grandpa, Moshe Snitofsky, came here from Russia loving G-d. He settled in Borough Park, Brooklyn and not only built an incredible plate glass business, but a large family. All of the family lived a few steps from each other down the block from Shomer Emunah Synagogue, which my grandfather ran to, shamlessly, day in and day out. I lived with my mother, father, sister and brother upstairs on the second floor. Most of the family, the aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews never understood my grandfather. I did though, we were best friends and I ran with him to Shul and hid under his tallis as long as I could.
Even though people didn’t understand him, they ate at his table, sang along with him on Shabbos and were thrilled by his success. They hung out on the benches in front of the house, and in the grape arbor he built in the backyard. They came to his Seders and slept in his Sukkah on Sukkhot.
Then everything changed. His business crumbled. No one knew why, it just did. Customers stopped buying, things fell apart. The entire family started moaning and wringing their hands. Even my grandmother’s face became stony.
My grandfather didn’t care at all.
“What’s going to happen to us? “everyone carried on.
My grandfather looked at them as if they were children.
“What difference does it make?” he said. “If money comes it comes, if money goes, it goes. Hashem has provided all these years and He will continue to do. Just go cook meals for Shabbos, open the doors, invite everyone to come and eat.”
“He’s gone crazy finally,” my tough aunt said. “I always knew there was something wrong with him, running to Shul all the time the way he does.”
The others agreed. I didn’t agree. I loved him. I knew he was right.
“What are they carrying on so much for, grandpa?” I asked.
“Because they haven’t tasted Hashem yet,” he said. “One day they will, though – everybody – and what a taste it will be.”
I could only imagine. I couldn’t wait.
Even though everyone thought he was crazy my grandmother had to do what he said. Even though she grumbled about it, with what little she had left, she and I cooked together for Shabbos, opened the doors, invited everyone to be a guest.
Life went on as usual and little by little the business returned. Of course nobody understood how and nobody understood why. It just did.
My grandfather understood though. “The business came back because I love Hashem,” he told me, “and because I didn’t make a few dollars here and there more important than Hashem Himself.”
“Wow,” I said, listening with my whole heart.
Soon everyone was happy again. Money flowed, gifts were given, songs were sung.
Then, again, everything changed. My grandfather had an accident. A huge plate glass fell on his arm, cutting some veins and three of his fingers were stuck together. He couldn’t do the same work he did anymore.
Everyone started moaning again. This time it was worse. They called him a cripple.
My grandfather laughed, “Me? A cripple? Ridiculous. It’s just time for me to do something different. Enough with the business. Now I’m going to spend all day long in Shul.”
He spent every moment then praying, studying, helping everyone who came to him, both in the Shul and outside. He helped Jews and non-Jews. He took care of G-d’s world. He never even noticed his fingers. His hands had grown much, much larger. He himself had become the strong right arm of Hashem.
Brenda Shoshanna, PhD, is a psychologist, speaker, author, playwright and founder of One Tent, Center for Sitting and Contemplative Prayer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Websites can be viewed here and here.