Positive Vision - Day 39
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Day 39 -The Cost of Kedushah -
Gauging Risks and Reward
David,* the owner and CEO of The Supersized Kitchen, a company that sells commercial kitchen supplies, decided to attend a trade show in Las Vegas at great personal expense, to boost his client base. He took out a $50,000 loan to buy expensive radio ads in the Las Vegas area, and rented a billboard to advertise his wares. A day before his trip, he went to consult with his rav about the logistics of spending Shabbos in Vegas, and how to manage with minyanim, etc.
“My dear David,” his rav said. “What a shame you hadn’t come to me earlier.
“It hurts me to say this, especially since you already invested so much money and effort into the preparations for this trip. However, I really would advise you not to go. David, you always come to see me before you make a decision. Now, as I understand, you already have tickets and a reservation at the show.”
“More than that, Rebbi,” David stammered. “I took out a loan on my house to pay for advertising in the Las Vegas area. I put up a billboard with my business name and phone number. If I don’t go I will lose a small fortune.”
The rav sighed once more. “Then perhaps we should reconsider. However, I feel that this trip might be spiritually harmful for you.”
David knew exactly what the rav was talking about. During his more difficult years in the business, he had gone through a spiritual challenge, and worked through it with the help of mussar sefarim, lots of tefillos, his rav and Divine assistance. By going to a place that was not known for its elevated morals, he was putting himself in harm’s way.
“Think about it,” said the rav. ”You’re spiritually stronger than you were a few years ago. I’m not telling you what to do. I am only offering my advice. Sometimes when we make a great sacrifice for kedushah, we are amply rewarded from Above.”
David went home and shared his dilemma with his wife. Leah was initially dismayed, but after much con- templation, agreed. “Perhaps Hashem wants you to make this sacrifice,” she said. “If it’s bashert, you’ll make the money some other way.”
David canceled his trip. The radio ads, however, were still running and the large billboard with the Supersized Kitchen logo was suspended over one of the major highways near the show. But with no presence in Las Vegas, it was a colossal waste of money.
Or so he thought.
Two days passed. Here and there, a potential client called David, having seen the billboard in Las Vegas, and their questions were like rubbing salt on an open wound. As soon as they heard he was not in Vegas, they lost interest.
A phone call then came in early one morning,
“Hello? Is this The Supersized Kitchen?” asked a polished voice.
“It is,” David replied reluctantly, awaiting another disappointment.
“This is Susan from NBC news,” she continued smoothly. “I was assigned a long-term project, highlighting small businesses across the United States. I’d like to ask you a few questions, if I may. Each month we choose one small business, with under ten employees, to profile on our show. We will highlight your niche and speak about where the business is heading, and how our team of experts can help you grow. In addition to our financial incentives, this will give your small business exposure and free advertising throughout the country. I have researched your business online and liked what I saw. Your products are unique and well-made, and your prices are very competitive. I always do my research before I select a business to profile. This is a program to benefit small businesses, and won’t cost you anything. It’s like winning the lottery.”
David paused, thinking that this seemed too good to be true. “If I may ask, how did you get my number?” he asked.
“It was actually just a coincidence,” Susan replied. “I was in Vegas on an assignment, and was driving back to the airport the other day when I noticed your billboard with its splashy logo. A few seconds later I turned on the radio to hear the traffic, and I heard a jingle, ‘Supersized Kitchen is the only way ...’ ” She even remembered the words! “I thought, this is a really strange coincidence. Maybe it’s some sign for which business to choose.”
After several weeks of consultations and several meetings with the NBC staff, Susan was as good as her word. She profiled the Supersized Kitchen on the show, highlighting the superior quality of their products. The effect was immediate. David hired two new office employees, who were busy with new clients around the clock. Before long his fledgling business doubled, both in size and profits.
One of the most difficult nisyonos we face regarding kedushah involves connections to which we must expose ourselves in our pursuit of earning a living. But ask yourself: Are these all justified? Can they possibly be avoided? Remember, those we are doing business with simply have no idea what kedushah means.
*Adapted with permission, from a true story (name and details changed) by C.B. Weinfeld, which appeared in Yated Neeman.