I remember sitting in a shiur (lecture) a number of years ago and hearing an idea that I’d never heard before about money. There is a concept that Hashem figures out at the beginning of each year how much money you’ll be making for that year. So, should you lose a sum of money at some point, it’s not something to worry about or to fret over, per se, because it’s part of the larger picture of your year. And you’ll be provided for.
Nice in theory. In practice? A bit hard to swallow.
However, I had the strangest and most amazing experience this month along these lines, and it was the first time in my life that I’d ever felt this concept so directly.
As I wrote in an earlier post, we had a nasty situation with our last car lease, and we ended up losing quite a lot of money when we returned the car. I fought it, I cried, I called in the big guns – but nothing changed the situation.
So, we did. We scrounged up money for a down payment on our fantastic new car and we chalked up the loss to living and learning.
But I opened this one. And I read it, and then reread it, and then tilted my head to the side and said, “HMMMMMMM…”
And when I brought it to work and showed it to my co-worker who helps me with all of my Hebrew paperwork, he confirmed my suspicion. There is a program in Israel where many employers will put away money for employees each month. The money accumulates and can be accessed by the worker every six years. It's not intended as part of a pension plan - but as a way to have a lovely surprise every 6 years. It’s called “Keren Histalmut” and it’s the way that many people suddenly are able to go on a trip you thought they couldn’t afford, add on to their home, buy a car, or pay for a simcha. The amount of money varies a great deal depending on how much you make – but any way that you look at it, it’s a lovely perk.
So, apparently I had one of these when I was teaching. I thought I rolled it into my current package at my job, but apparently I didn’t. The fund started in 2006, and it was now 2012. The money was due – and it was all mine to take.
And – ready for this – it was exactly EXACTLY the amount of money that we lost on the car.
I had to laugh.
I decided that it couldn’t possibly be true, so I didn’t tell anyone about this interesting event. I went to the bank in Jerusalem where they told me that it was, indeed, my money and that I just needed to do X,Y and Z to claim it. By the next week, I had accomplished X, Y and Z and was back at the bank to file the paperwork. She told me I should see the money in my account within 10 days.
And yesterday – well, there it was.
I spent hours – literally hours...if not days – stewing over this lost money, wondering how we were going to afford a down payment on another car, how we were going to afford Matan’s bar mitzvah, how we were going to etc. etc. etc.
And while I stewed, a savings account that I had long forgotten about came due, and plopped the exact amount in my lap.