Gershon’s situation was really bad. His children had not eaten more than scraps of food in days, the stress was weighing on him heavily. He could barely make enough money to buy scraps of bread each week. When Purim came and the situation had not improved Gershon decided to travel to Koznitz for Purim, to be by Reb Yisroel – the Kozhnitzer Maggid. After Shachris and the Megillah reading Gershon was getting to ready to leave when he was surprised to hear the Koznitzer Maggid address him, “Reb Yid! Aren’t you from the neighboring village? Did you bring me Shalach Manos?” Gershon froze. Even though it was Purim he couldn’t even afford to feed his family let alone buy food for Shalach Manos. The Rebbe saw Gershons confused look, “Come, my brother. Let us make a L’Chaim. Today is Purim after all!” Gershon joined the Rebbe and his Chaisidim for some cake and L’Chaims. Around him people were happy; singing songs and telling stories. He also caught the spirit of happiness in the air, and for the first time in a while he felt happy, a new feeling of confidence was upon him. He quickly left the Rebbe’s house, now on a mission to return with a beautiful Shalach Manos for the Koznitzer Maggid. He went to the wine store, “A Freilichen Purim,” he greeted the shopkeeper. “A Freilichen Purim,” returned the shopkeeper. “May I have a fine bottle of wine, I can’t pay you today, I can pay you some other time but even if not, today is Purim after all!” The shopkeeper caught Gershons contagious happiness, “Certainly”, the surprised shopkeeper said as he handed Gershon a bottle of expensive wine, and in the same way Gerhson got apples from the Grocer. He put the apples and wine together in a basket and sprinted back to the Rebbe. “I brought the Rebbe shalach manos.” he announced excitedly. The rebbe accepted it graciously, “You did a very good thing Reb Yid. Remember to bring me Shalach Manos every year.” Gershon, ecstatic that he had given a gift to the Holy Koznitzer Maggid came up with a plan to get some food for his family’s Purim Seudah. So in the same way he got the shalach manos he went and got a bottle of Vodka, Bread, Herring, Fruit, and all the delicious foods you can imagine. To each store Gershon happily went saying, “…I can pay you some other time but even if not, today is Purim after all!” When he returned home he came in singing and dancing Purim songs. His wife and children eyed him suspiciously, they had not seen him in good spirits for a very long time. He placed all the food on the table, “Eat and drink to your hearts’ content. Today is Purim after all!” The children ran to the table and joyfully ate their first meal in ages. Gershon and his wife joined them as well. They were all dancing together around the table, celebrating their Purim Seudah, when a knock at the door interrupted them. At first they ignored it but when they finally opened the door a man stumbled inside falling face first onto the floor. This polish farmer was covered in terrible wounds, more dead than alive, they still managed to revive him with food and drink. After he felt a little better he thanked them for helping and told them what happened. “My son, he beat me. I thought he would kill me. But he will never find my money that he so desperately wants. Certainly not after this. I will give you the money, because you were so kind to me.” The farmer took Gershon to the woods and showed him where he had hid the money. The Polish Farmer never recovered from the beating his son gave him and a few days later he passed away. Gershon then went to retrieve the hidden money. A huge sum of Gold coins. Gershon and his family would never have to worry about money again. And every year on Purim Gershon made sure to bring Shalach Manos to the Koznitzer Maggid.
In parshas Re’eh we were told about giving Tzedakkah. The pasuk says, “You must give “Aser” a tithe on all the produce that grows in the field, each year.”(14:22) The Gemara in Taanis (9a) points out the word “Aser” – to tithe can also be read “Osher” – wealth. Teaching us that through giving Maaser on our profits, on our produce – through the Aser, we will become Osher – we will become wealthy. We know that Hashem rewards us for our charity even greater than what we gave. And when we go the extra mile and give beyond our means, we can know for sure Hashem will provide for us in order to follow through.