This week, I received a letter in the mail from the United States. I recognized the logo on the envelope, 'YDT', the yeshiva in which my children learned when we were in the U.S. I opened the letter with curiosity and I found a check for a small sum of money. On the side of the check was written: 'Return of money related to COVID-19, for lunches you purchased but did not receive.'
These plain words really inspired me. We fled New York when COVID broke out during the horrible times in the beginning when 1,000 people were dying each day. We figured we would return soon, but never did. Lectures I was supposed to give in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland were canceled. Instead, I found myself back in Israel making omelets for the kids while they learned remotely. The last thing on my mind during the difficult days of the lockdown was the little bit of money I paid for lunches.
Four million people died worldwide and despite everything, somewhere in New York City, a secretary at Yeshiva Darchei Torah was looking for the address of a family in Israel to return the small sum they paid for lunches.
I wrote in reply to the principal: 'Rabbi Bender, My children no longer learn in your Yeshiva. But you still taught me something very important.'