I have to tell you about an amazing chance encounter I had on Hoshana Rabbah. Hoshana Rabbah, the seventh day of Sukkot, is the time of year that we begin praying for rain in Israel.
As usual, I found myself praying in synagogue on the morning of Hoshana Rabbah. The Hoshana Rabbah prayers are longer than the routine weekday prayers as we include various supplications and requests for God to bless the Land with sufficient rain in the upcoming winter months.
Seemingly out of the blue, a man approached me asking for charity. He told me that he is a Torah scholar, a husband, and father of many children, but has fallen on very difficult times. He has been unable to pay his utility bills for the entire year and the water company was threatening to shut off his water!
He had spent that morning walking from synagogue to synagogue begging for change but had not made much headway. He had received some small donations, but not nearly enough to ensure that his water would remain on.
I asked him how much money he needed. He showed me his outstanding bill of 1700 NIS (approximately $480 USD). Immediately, I took out my cell phone, called the water company, and paid his bill in full.
The significance of this chance encounter was not lost on me. In fact, this was not a chance encounter at all! At the same moments that I was standing in synagogue praying for rain, a desperate father was begging for water for his family. Water for his children to drink, water for bathing, for cooking, for cleaning. On the day that we turn to God and request sufficient water in the coming months, a humble man was requesting the same from me.
It was amazing to be able to help this family with their water needs for the year! I wanted to continue to speak to the man to get more information about his family and their needs, but he disappeared! I am so grateful that we were able to be there for this family in their time of need.
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