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At a Loss

Rifka Junger

It made no logical sense that I would be losing so much money in one day. And it wasn’t just any day, it was Erev Shabbos

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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Photo: Shutterstock

It had been one of those weeks. Overload at work, deadlines I seemed unable to meet, one son in an accident, the other unable to return to yeshivah because he was sick with a virus.

And then there was money pressure. As a single mother and sole breadwinner, my monthly budgets are planned out in advance, and I keep to them very strictly. Throughout several difficult months Hashem had bestowed incredible chesed upon me, never leaving me short of cash.

But this month seemed to be different. Right at the outset I noted a gaping hole in my budget, and was desperately trying to think of how I could fill it.

And then came crunch time. My son finally felt well enough to go back to yeshivah, but I had to pay for overweight luggage, taking a chunk out of my finances. I comforted myself that this was for my son’s shteiging in Torah, and I would not feel the loss. I sent off my bechor with tearful smiles, with pride in his growth, and a twist in my heart.

The next day was a busy one. Thursday, November 10 — the week of the Shabbos Project. As a member of the committee of the “Challah Bake” in Vienna, I was busy setting up a hall for the 300 women we expected to join us. An awesome but gratifying responsibility. As I was calculating how many more cubes of yeast we needed, someone walked up to me and handed me the much-anticipated payment for a job I’d completed several days earlier (yes, it was included in my budget). With no time to put it into my purse, I stuffed it into my jacket pocket and forgot all about it.

The evening was a success. Women of all types came together to knead dough, take challah, pray, and dance. They walked home with freshly baked, fragrant loaves and I returned home deeply satisfied that I’d played a part in bringing about a kiddush Hashem.

Soon after I arrived home I fell into an exhausted sleep. Totally forgetting about the money in my jacket pocket.

The next morning dawned full of pressures; a short Erev Shabbos, things to take care of for the Shabbos Project, as well my own family’s weekly Shabbos project. When I reached into my jacket pocket for the money I needed to give my son for shopping, I found it empty. My heart plummeted. I checked my coat; zilch. My heart was racing by now. This was all the money I had allocated for the month’s groceries.

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