Fringe Benefits

Friday, 15 July, 2016 - 2:51 pm

Ethics of our Fathers instructs us to serve Hashem without the intent of receiving a reward. Furthermore our sages teach that the reward for a Mitzvah is the Mitzvah itself. (Chassidism explains that the connection forged with Hashem through the Mitzvah is the ultimate benefit one can obtain.) That being said, there are many fringe benefits to doing Mitzvahs. Sometimes they are immediately apparent, sometimes it may take a long time to recognize, and sometimes we may never become aware of the manifestation of those benefits.

Last week I had an experience, in which I became immediately aware of a fringe benefit of a Mitzvah. In addition it was some serious Divine Providence that saved me significant aggravation.

As many of you know, Chabad is involved with supporting the Israeli patients that come to Ochsner for organ transplants. Last week I was helping a family member of one the patients currently awaiting a liver transplant, with a banking issue. This assistance required me to present my photo ID to the bank clerk. Even though they know me very well, for a transaction of this nature a valid photo ID is needed. When she looked at the ID she observed that it had expired three weeks earlier. (Apparently the DMV stopped sending notices to people about license renewal.) In the absence of a valid ID they would not be able to proceed with the transaction. I quickly made my way to one of the new outsourced DMV offices in our neighborhood and within 10 minutes I renewed my license. I returned to the bank and concluded the transaction to everyone’s satisfaction.

Normally I would just see this a not so major nuisance… However I was scheduled to fly to New York that afternoon to be with the Rebbe and thousands of Chassidim for the 3rd of Tammuz. An expired ID would have had me turned away by TSA at the security checkpoint. So the Mitzvah of helping another person, which resulted in my having to renew my expired license, actually served as the cause for alleviating the problem that I would not have discovered until it was too late. By Divine Providence we decided to go to the bank that day instead of waiting until I returned from my trip like we originally considered. As I presented my newly minted license to the TSA officer I could not help but marvel at the wondrous ways of Hashem that I was privileged to witness is a small way.

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Please see below, in the news feed, the latest on the Jewish community’s reaction to the tragic events in Nice.

May we only share good news!

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday night at the “With Love From Israel” event.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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