Story Time: Rashbi Paid the Bill



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    Story Time: Rashbi Paid the Bill

    One day, the students of a school in Ramat Gan, Eretz Yisrael, gathered together to hear a talk about how to use electricity safely. Once they were all seated, a man wearing the uniform of the Israel Electric Company (Chevrat Chashmal) stood up to speak • By Baila Brikman, Beis Moshiach Magazine • Full Story

    By Baila Brikman, Beis Moshiach

    One day, the students of a school in Ramat Gan, Eretz Yisrael, gathered together to hear a talk about how to use electricity safely. Once they were all seated, a man wearing the uniform of the Israel Electric Company (Chevrat Chashmal) stood up to speak.

    Right away, everyone noticed the black eye patch that covered one of his eyes. What was it for?

    A week later, the same electrician was in a school in Kfar Chabad, teaching the students about electricity safety. This time, the students didn’t notice his black eye patch—because he wasn’t wearing it!

    After he finished talking, one of the teachers named Rabbi Chaim Ben-Natan went over to him. “Thank you very much for your speech,” he said warmly. “Before you go, would you like to put on tefillin?”

    “Of course!” The electrician replied. He rolled up his sleeve and Rabbi Ben-Natan helped him put on tefillin. When they were finished, the electrician became very emotional. He turned to Rabbi Ben-Natan and began to share his incredible story:

    ***

    My name is Meir*.

    For many years, I had a health problem called diabetes. It didn’t really bother me so much. As long as I remembered to eat healthy food, exercise, and take my medicine every day, I felt fine.

    One day, my eye began to hurt a lot. It got worse pretty quickly, until I couldn’t see out of that eye!

    I rushed to my doctor and he did a bunch of tests. “I don’t have very good news for you,” he told me sadly. “Your diabetes caused a problem with your eye. As of today, no doctor has figured out how to fix this type of problem. I’m afraid that your eye will never be able to see again.”

    I was shocked. How could that be?

    The doctor gave me a black patch to wear over my eye and a special cream that would make it feel better. I quietly took them from him and went back home, feeling very depressed.

    With only one good eye, I couldn’t even continue my job. Working with electricity can sometimes be dangerous, and I couldn’t risk damaging my good eye. If that would happen, I wouldn’t be able to see at all!

    I spoke with my boss, and we came up with a solution. Instead of working with electricity, I would travel around Eretz Yisrael to teach children how to use electricity in a safe way.

    One day, I was driving to a school in Carmiel. I got a bit lost, so I called my boss to ask for the right directions. When she heard where I was, she got very excited. “You’re so close to Meron!” she told me. “Why don’t you stop off by the kever of the holy tzaddik Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai? That way, you can daven for a bracha that your eye should be healed!”

    What a great idea! I drove to Meron, parked my car, and went to daven at the kever.

    As I davened, I heard a man crying behind me. “Hashem,” he kept repeating, “In the zechus of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, please help me!”

    I tried ignoring his loud tefillos so I could concentrate on my own. After I finished davening for my eye to get better, I turned around to go home.

    As I passed the man who had been crying, he grabbed onto my arm. “Chasdei Hashem!” he shouted. “My tefillos were answered! Rabbi Shimon sent you to me!”

    I was so confused. How was I the answer to his tefillos? Rabbi Shimon hadn’t sent me anywhere!

    The man pointed to my shirt, which had my company’s logo on it. “You’re from the electricity company,” he said, still holding onto my arm. “I have a wife and five kids at home, and your company turned off my electricity because I owe them a lot of money. How can my family live in the dark like this, without any heat or light? We can’t even keep the food in our fridge cold!”

    The man continued talking. “I davened for hours by the kever of Rabbi Shimon, begging him to help me. And look who he sent me? A worker from the electric company!”

    He was smiling from ear to ear, but I knew I couldn’t help him. I had nothing to do with turning on and off electricity anymore. I tried explaining that to him, but he wouldn’t listen.

    “No, no, no!” he replied. “If Rabbi Shimon sent you, you must help me!” He kept holding my sleeve and nudging me until I realized that unless I wanted to sleep by the kever that night, I had to help him! He just wouldn’t let me go!

    The clock was ticking. Soon, I would be late to the school in Carmiel, where I was supposed to give a speech to the students.

    “What are the details of your account?” I asked. “I’ll call my boss and ask him to turn your electricity back on.”

    He gave me his account details, and I went outside the room. Instead of calling my boss, I logged into his account and checked what he owed. It was a huge amount: 2,500 shekels! I took a deep breath, paid the bill with my own credit card, and went back inside.

    “All good!” I announced. “You can go home. I arranged everything. In just a few hours, your electricity will turn on again!”

    The man was overjoyed. He shook my hand so hard, it almost fell off! “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” he cried. “You see, I was right! Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai really sent you to me!”

    I walked back to my car, not really believing what I had done. I had just paid the massive bill of a complete stranger!

    I started driving toward the school, hoping that I would still make it there on time. About ten minutes into the drive, my eye began to itch really badly. I had to take off my patch to itch it!

    I pulled over to the side of the road, took off my patch, and… what? Was I dreaming?

    I pinched myself and blinked a few times. Nope, I was wide awake. And wonder of wonders, I was able to see from both of my eyes! I covered my good eye and looked out the window with my bad eye. I saw the road, the sky, the sun… nothing was dark or blurry. It was as if that eye had never been blind!

    I wanted to get out of my car and dance with joy, but I had to continue driving to the school. Right after I gave my speech, I went straight to my doctor.

    When I showed him that my eye was working fine, he couldn’t believe it. He made me do all sorts of tests, and everything came back looking great! “It’s a miracle!” the doctor said. “There is no medical way to explain it!”

    ***

    “So that’s my story!” the electrician finished off. “If you give light to another Yid, Hashem will give light to you! But moreover, this is the story of how Reb Shimon Bar Yochai paid the electric bill!”

    *

    The magazine can be obtained in stores around Crown Heights. To purchase a subscription, please go to: bmoshiach.org





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