20-Year Warranty – Hold Onto the Receipt!

About ten years ago, we bought new luggage. I think it was a Black Friday deal, and we got a really nice set on sale. Baruch Hashem (Thank God), on our first big trip, the driver taking us to the airport slammed the trunk of his shiny new Chevy Suburban and bashed in the corner of one of them. At least it made it easier to identify at baggage claim.

Well, those suitcases have been well-traveled, with seminaries and visits and vacations, and my wife decided it was time for new luggage. We tried ordering a set that was a “special,” but it turned out they weren’t quite what we were looking for, so we sent them back.

Then, I was in a local store, and I noticed a sale on luggage. They had the extendable feature we wanted and a pretty color that was somewhat unique. When I saw the tag offered a 20-year warranty, I was sold. I bought the bags and brought them home. My wife liked the color and Baruch Hashem we were in business. I went to the company website to register my bags for their warranty, and I was surprised when they asked me to upload a copy of my receipt. Thankfully, I was able to do that, though I hadn’t noticed before that the warranty would require that.

When they e-mailed me to confirm registration, they suggested I hold onto my receipt in case I ever needed warranty service. I replied that I didn’t understand. I’d just submitted the receipt to them when registering my bags. Why would I need to hold onto the receipt for the next twenty years?! Isn’t that the point of registering them? They essentially responded, somewhat cryptically, “Well, things happen.” I hope I don’t need warranty service on the bags, but if I do, I won’t be totally shocked if they use the old, “We told you to hold onto your receipts” line. I guess there really are no guarantees in life.

In Heaven, There Are Guarantees

But then, that isn’t entirely true, as I’m sure you probably could have guessed. You see, there is at least one company in this world that keeps copies of everything stored in the cloud. Or more precisely, in the clouds. Yes, while people may not offer guarantees, Hashem, through His company, Shamayim (Heavens) Unlimited, certainly does.

Chazal tell us that Hashem does not withhold reward from any creature. For example, the dogs that didn’t bark in Mitzrayim when the Jews left, merited to be given the meat of animals determined to be treif. And Hashem rewards people for using polite speech. It’s well-documented in various places, so I think we can trust it.

God Remembers – Even If We Forget

The nice thing is that Hashem’s record-keeping is so complete that even when we’ve forgotten what we’ve done, He remembers. If what we’ve done isn’t so good, and needs fixing, He’ll send us subtle reminders. Things will happen that have similarity to what we need to correct so it jogs our memory. Then we have the chance to correct them and be good.

And when it comes to the good things? Even better! You may not remember that you smiled at the girl in your class who was feeling down, but Hashem does. When she remembers that and smiles at other people, you get credit for it. And as she raises her family to be thoughtful and sensitive to others’ feelings, because she was touched by your small act that day, you get merit for all the kindnesses that they do in their lives as a result of your small investment. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t take away from their merit. Remember, Shamayim Unlimited produces its own currency with no fear of inflation or devaluation, so the available reward is limitless.)

Their Good Deeds Are Your Reward!

When you give money to a Yeshivah (Torah school) or Kollel (institute for advanced Torah study), you might put the receipt away for your taxes, but you can’t calculate the credits that accrue daily for the Torah that was learned and how it positively affected the world. However, unlike my luggage, that isn’t on you. You don’t need to keep the receipts or identify what you did. Each action we do is automatically registered with the Manufacturer and His records are immaculate. He keeps a running balance of the merits you’ve earned and how each small act added to a great total, much greater than the sum of its parts.

If the talmid chacham (wise, learned man) who receives your financial help has a family, and you’re putting bread on their table, you get rewarded for all the Torah they learn, the mitzvot they do, and the chesed they produce. You don’t have to figure it out, because Hashem is keeping careful records so you are compensated accordingly. While an investment in quality luggage may last you ten or twenty years, investments that build your retirement fund at your final destination will last a lot longer. Guaranteed.

By Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz

Rabbi Gewirtz (Operation Inspiration) welcomes comments and feedback. Write to him at info@JewishSpeechWriter.com to share your thoughts. You never know when you may be the lamp that enlightens someone else.

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