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When you don't have enough money to pay in full

When you don't have enough money to pay in full

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One day a nine year old girl walked into a jewelry  store in  Israel and said, “I am here to buy a bracelet.” She looked through the glass cases and pointed to a bracelet that was $3,000. The man behind the counter asked her, “You want to buy that bracelet?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“Wow, you have very good taste. Who do you want to buy it for?”

“For my older sister.”

“Oh that is so nice!” the storekeeper replied. “Why do you want to buy your older sister this bracelet?”

“Because I don’t have a mother or father,” the little girl said, “and my older sister takes care of us. So we want to buy her a present, and I’m willing to pay for it.” She pulled out of her pocket a whole bunch of coins and crunched up bills that painfully  totaled just under eight shekels, a little less than two dollars.

The fellow says, “Wow! That’s exactly what the bracelet costs!” While wrapping up the bracelet he said to the girl, “You write a card to your sister while I wrap the bracelet.” He finished wrapping the bracelet, wiped away his tears, and handed the little girl the bracelet.

A few hours later the older sister entered the store. “I’m terribly embarrassed,” she said. “My sister should not have come here. She shouldn’t have taken it without paying.”

“What are you talking about?” the storekeeper asked.

“What do you mean? This bracelet costs thousands of dollars. My little sister doesn’t have thousands of dollars – she doesn’t even have ten dollars! Obviously she didn’t pay for it.”

“You couldn’t be more wrong,” the storekeeper replied. “She paid me in full. She paid seven shekel, eighty agurot, and a Broken Heart.  I want to tell you something. I am a widower. I lost my wife a number of years ago. People come into my store every single day. They come in and buy expensive pieces of jewelry, and all these people can afford it. When your sister walked in, for the first time in so very long since my wife had died, I once again finally  felt what love really means.”

He gave e sister  the bracelet and wished her well.

Tonight we enter the magical month of Elul, where our tradition teaches us that G‑d is more accessible and our King  leaves His palace to welcome the masses of  common people in the field.

During the High Holy Days, we come to the Almighty and we want to buy something very expensive. We want to buy life. But we cannot necessarily feel that we deserve so many blessings.   We don’t have enough money to pay for it. We don’t have the merits. So we come to the Almighty and we empty out our pockets, giving him whatever good deeds we have plus promises for the future. I’ll pick up the phone and call someone who is lonely, I will learn an extra five minutes of Torah, I will be kind and I will be scrupulous about trying to come to Shul more often....

The Almighty says, “You don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve felt what love means.” He sees how much we love Him and how much we yearn to improve, and He says, “You know what? You have touched my heart. Here it is,- a sweet happy and healthy new year -  paid in full.”

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