I saw this on social media and it really resonated with me. While I shared it on social media and many others have as well, it’s worth sharing again here as we just finished observing Yom Kippur. There are such lessons to be learned as we enter the new year about how we treat others, our community, and ourselves. Over the past 18 months, we have all endured incredible stress and we must remind ourselves to take care of ourselves, not just others. We all need to find joy and the beauty in our lives.
“One day, a nine-year-old girl walked into a jewelry store 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 owner, 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 a whole bunch of coins from her pocket that totaled just under eight shekels, a little less than two dollars.
The man 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 any money! She 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 passed, I once again felt what true love is.”
He gave her the bracelet and wished her well.”
On Rosh Hashanah, we come before God. With sincerity, we express our devotion and dedication. We recommit and renew our relationship with our dear Father in heaven, and we ask Him to bless us with another year. We empty out our pockets and try to give the little we have. We show the few good deeds we’ve accumulated throughout the year. With a broken heart we resolve to do a bit more. “I’ll pick up the phone and call someone who is lonely. I will study some Torah. I will be more scrupulous about my observance, I will be more charitable, more patient, more kind, more appreciative, etc.”
And, just like the owner of the jewelry store, God sees our broken hearts and says, “You know what? You’ve touched my heart. I feel the love. You’ve paid in full. May you be blessed with another year filled with good health, happiness, love, light, joy and success!”
The Federation partners with the Lavin Family Foundation and CC’s Wish List to provide new clothes to those in need. We recently got our second shipment and partnered with the American Muslim Community Center to get these clothes into the hands of those who need them. My friend Atif messaged me this morning, saying, “Hi Keith. I am here in Parramore Ave. The poverty here is heart breaking. Drugs and Crime ruin these neighborhoods. So your support is so essential to provide hope and self-respect to families trying to get themselves to a better place.”
As we prepare for Shabbat and reflect on the holidays that just concluded, I urge you to feel love. To focus on the positive and let go of the negative. To enjoy what you have and to reach out and help those less fortunate. Atif’s message reminds me to be grateful for the wonderful gifts in my life. The story reminds me that I get more from giving than I do from getting.
Shana Tovah U’Metuka. May you all have a happy, healthy, and sweet new year. May 5782 be a year filled with good health, happiness, love, light, joy and success.