About 20 years ago right after my father had passed away, I was approached by a neighborhood Yeshiva to do some fund raising for them. I had never done any sort of fund raising before. I didn’t know what to answer. I thought it would be a nice thing to do, a nice misvah right after my father passed away. They said I should get up in front of my shul and make a speech and then use the cards they would drop off by my house to mark the pledges down. Friday morning they dropped off 600 cards, but no speech. I am not a speaker and was left to fend for myself and try to get up in front of the kahal and make a speech on my own and do the fund raising for the Yeshiva.
I did it, I got up in front of everyone and made my appeal. After I spoke I was standing there with 600 cards. I looked to my side and saw a wealthy member of the shul, a friend of mine and I approached him and asked if he can start us out and help out the Yeshiva. His response shocked me. He started berating me. He started saying – How dare you approach me like this!, I will never help out this Yeshivah! and started to scream at me in front of the entire shul. I was humiliated beyond belief. He then angrily takes the card and tears it into pieces and THROWS IT IN MY FACE!!! I put the other 599 cards in an envelope and gave up. I went home sat on the couch and cried like a Baby. I couldn’t continue,I was broken. I felt like I let my father down. I felt like I let the Yeshiva down. But that man deflated me. I was numb and could not go thru with this.
10 year later I get a call from a food organization asking if I can help fund raise for them. I paused and said this is my chance to get back on the horse and try again. I said yes and agreed to help out. I wanted to do avodat Hashem and was determined to do this Misvah that Hashem has resent to me.
I got to my place of business and had a wealthy community member show up as a customer that day. I approached her with a card for a pledge and began to ask if she can help out this wonderful food organization. Her reaction startled me. She angrily yells at me How dare you approach me over here for a donation!!! Who do you think you are!!. I am not here to give charity I am here for my own personal needs. I will not give you any donation. Don’t you ask me for any donations!!! I was shocked. But this time I was determined. I told myself I will not let her get me down. I will not give up the avodat Hashem I am trying to do. I am going to move on and continue full force ahead with great determination!
Within 6 months I was zoche to collect $140,000!!! Yes $140,000!
Being in the Parashiot we are reading this time of year the lesson was clear to me. Noach and Avraham were ridiculed and made fun of but they did not give up. They stayed true to the job of serving Hashem and did not let people bring them down. They persevered. This is our test. If we are growing and doing the right thing in serving Hashem we should not let a friend or colleague put us down. We must stay focused and continue in our avodat Hashem. Do not let any ridicule or any remarks take you off track. Keep on growing and doing the misvot we are required to do and stay strong believing and knowing that you are doing the right thing for Hashem and for yourself.