Rabbi Yechiel Spero told the story of a man named Shimon who was in dire financial straits. He owed tens of thousands of dollars to credit card companies and private lenders, and lost his job. He was crushed. How, he wondered, could he face his family? How would he repay his mounds of debt? There was no one to whom to turn. He decided to go to the park to sit and try to clear his head. He sat there for two hours, and started feeling even worse than he did when he first got there.
Suddenly, a man wearing pajamas came and sat down next to him.
“What’s wrong?” the fellow asked him.
“You want to know what’s wrong?” Shimon replied. “My life is in ruins. I have no money, I’m drowning in debt, and I have no one to go to for help.”
“Don’t worry,” the stranger assured him. “You might have heard of me – my name is Warren Buffet. I could help you.”
Shimon couldn’t believe his ears. Of course he had heard of Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world.
“I’ve been watching you from the window of my apartment building,” Mr. Buffet said, “and I saw you looked upset, so I came to help you. I will lend you $2 million for you to use to get yourself back on your feet. One year from now, we’ll meet here on this park bench and you’ll return the loan.”
Shimon was beside himself. Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined Warren Buffet appearing out of nowhere and helping him. Right there and then, Mr. Buffet took out a checkbook, wrote a check for $2 million, and handed it to Shimon.
Shimon was so grateful, and from that moment his life started to drastically change. Having the check in his pocket made him an entirely different person, as it gave him the confidence and encouragement he needed to help himself. He found a new job and rapidly scaled the company ladder, ending up securing a high-ranking position. Every venture yielded spectacular results, and he started earning a lot of money. He repaid his debts, and his wife and children, as well as his fellow community members, began respecting him more.
One year later, Shimon returned to the park bench at the designated time to repay his loan. Sure enough, Warren Buffet showed up, again wearing his pajamas. He asked Shimon how things were going, and Shimon told him how terrific his life became since their meeting a year earlier.
“My life is spectacular,” he said. “It’s never been better, and this is all because of you.” He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper – the $2 million check which he had received a year earlier, and which he never deposited. He didn’t have to – just knowing that he had the money was enough to turn things around.
At that moment, two men in uniform approached Shimon.
“Is this man bothering you?” they asked Shimon. “He frequently escapes from the mental institute up the road, and we’re always looking for him. He likes telling people he’s Warren Buffet. I hope he didn’t give you one of his fake checks.” The men then took the stranger away.
Shimon couldn’t believe it. He was so thankful that he had believed this man.
A boy named Shlomo who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of eight, & was not given too much hope. He battled the disease for years, and Baruch Hashem, he won. He eventually got married and, at the age of thirty, was told that he was totally healed. He made a seudat hoda’a – a meal of gratitude, for his family and friends. At the meal, he got up to speak & publicly thanked Hashem.
He said, “I also need to thank my pediatric oncologist who is in the audience today because unknown to him, he played a major role in my recovery. It was not his treatments or his medications. It was during a visit to his office at a time when my health was deteriorating, and my situation was very bleak. I overheard the doctor whispering to the nurse. He said, ‘You see that boy, he is a strong boy. He is going to survive. He is going to live. I am telling you. He is a strong boy, he is going to live.’ Every time a situation seemed too difficult to handle, I remember the doctor’s words, and I willed myself to survive.”
Shlomo then sat down and the doctor who was not scheduled to speak asked if he could address the audience. He said, “I have to tell you the truth. The story is not exactly as Shlomo related. I did not believe that Shlomo was going to survive. When Shlomo was leaving my office, another boy with a similar illness was entering. I told the nurse that that boy was strong and that he was going to live. Shlomo heard me and thought I was referring to him, and that is what gave him the will to fight.”
The words spoken by that doctor, although unintentional (we know there are no coincidences) literally brought life.
Rabbi Chaim Morgenstern