Friday, August 31, 2012

Story: Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach & $150

150 Dollars
In 1978, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the popular Jewish composer and singer, gave a concert in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. When the concert was finished, Reb Shlomo came across a young man sobbing. "Holy brother," he asked, "why are you crying your heart out like that?" The man, a non-Jew, told Reb Shlomo that he had just won a scholarship to a medical school in Paris, but didn't have the money for the plane ticket. Just that day, he has been totally unsuccessful in securing a loan. "How much is the plane fare?" Reb Shlomo asked. "A hundred and fifty dollars." Reb Shlomo went through his pockets and pulled out all his cash. He counted out the money and handed it to the man, who was stunned.
"You don't even know me. How do you know I'll ever pay you back?" "It's not a loan," Reb Shlomo answered. "It's a gift." The man was adamant that he didn't want charity, he wanted to pay back the money. Reb Shlomo wrote down his name and address, then added, "Repay me only when you truly can."
Ten years later an envelope postmarked Dubrovnik arrived at the Carlebach Shul in Manhattan, along with a check for $150 and a note: "Because of your great kindness, I am today a successful physician in Dubrovnik, with a thriving practice. I owe everything to you and will never forget you for the rest of my life." (Mandelbaum, Holy Brother, pp. 75-76)

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