The Price Of A Mitzvah

After WWII, the Poles decided to build a highway through an old Jewish cemetery. The local Burial Society had to remove all the bones to a new resting palce. To their amazement, they found one body that had not decomposed! It is considered a sign of great righteousness. But even more to their wonderment, he was buried in the robes of a priest!! They quickly made enquiries among the elders of the town, and this is the story that was revealed.

Reb Naftali was the Gabbai Tzedakah of the town. He was well respected and he would always distribute the funds fairly. One day, after he had already collected quite a sum of money for a dire emergency, a man knocked on his door. "Naftali, please you must help, I have nowhere else to turn", he begged. The man, already burdened by the expenses of a large family had a child who was very ill, and the medical bills were putting the family under undue financial distress. Naftali went out to collect again; and people helped, but not like the first time. He returned home exhausted, but satisfied that he had done the right thing. Then there was a knock on the door again. A man whose roof had caved in on his house was in the doorway. The family of 10 souls was homeless. Naftali couldn't go around collecting three times in one day...but he did.

He went to beseech the young son of a wealthy merchant who was entertaining some of his friends at the local pub.

"Don't tell me you that are collecting again", he screamed in disbelief. They all began to ridicule Naftali mercilessly.

Suddenly, the young man had an idea. "Naftali, we will give you the entire amount of 20 zlotys that you need. All you have to do is to walk through the main street of town wearing priests robes." Naftali agreed.

They all walked behind him singing hooting. Other townspeople, seeing Naftali, shouted curses and pelted him with eggs. But he got the 20 zlotys, plus an extra 20 so that he didn't have to go collecting again that day.

Naftali went home a broken man. He threw the priest's robes in the back of his closet and collapsed into bed.

A year later, the Divrei Chayim, R' Chaim of Tzanz passed through that same town. As he was [passing the house where Naftali lived he exclaimed, "I smell the fragrance of Gan Eden (Paradise) here." They went into the house and began to question Naftali, what did he ever do that would cause the fragrance of Gan Eden to descend upon his house. Naftali remembered the incident of the priest's robes.

R' Chaim commanded the Burial Society that when when Naftali's time comes, he should be buried in those same priests robes. The angels of destuction will not dare to touch him