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A Three Dollar Check


It’s late at night and I have returned home from a long day at the Tomche Shabbos warehouse where we held our large Pesach distribution, 2015. The house is quiet as I empty my pockets of the many checks received during the day. 


I unfold a check for $3. As I study the handwriting on the check, I recall a story told by the grandson of the late Rav Avrohom Pam ZT”L, of the time Rav Pam called him to ask him to come over to help him bring to the basement seforim that Talmidim had written and brought him as a gift. When the grandson arrived, Rav Pam took the first Sefer and suggested that they learn something from it. They opened the Sefer and together learned a short Vort that the Mechaber had included. Rav Pam commented on the Vort, then gently closed the Sefer and placed it in the box that was to go to the basement. He then reached for the next Sefer, slowly opened it, and repeated the process. In this manner he slowly learned a chiddush or vort from each Sefer that had been given to him.


As I studied the $3 check, I asked myself, “What mesiras nefesh is behind this check?” After a few moments, I gently put the check down and unfold the next one. It’s a check for $18 that is dated for later this week. I am moved by the fact that the writer of the check doesn’t currently have $18 in his bank account, yet seeks to participate in this beautiful Mitzvah. Next I unfold a check for thousands of dollars given to me earlier today. When the check was handed to me at the warehouse, the donor asked that we use the funds to provide for his ex-wife, who along with her new husband is struggling financially, without them knowing that he sent it. Next I open an envelope containing $200. It was given to me by a young man who once attended Ohr V’Daas, a school for children with special needs. He currently holds a low paying job and told me that he saved his maaser money from his salary throughout the year so that he could bring it to the warehouse prior to Pesach. Though it’s the larger checks that make our work possible, the smaller donations often remind us of how everyone seeks to participate in this wonderful Miztvah.  


Each donation tells a story of mesiras nefesh and chessed that is truly inspiring. One at a time I gently place each check on my desk to be taken to the bank tomorrow. As I leave my desk for the night, I give the pile of checks another glance and am overcome with an appreciation for the unparalleled chessed of the many heroes in Klal Yisroel.



Alan Rosenstock

Tomche Shabbos of Rockland County

78 College Road

Monsey, NY 10952