This story was told over by Rav Go’el Elkarif who said he heard it from the person to whom it happened.
There is a fellow who owns a jewelry store in Eretz Yisroel. One day, not long ago a nine year old girl walked into the store and said, “I am here to buy a bracelet”. She looks through the glass cases and points to a bracelet that was three or four thousand dollars. The man behind the counter asked her, “You want to buy that bracelet?” And she says, “Yes”. He says, “Wow, you have very good taste. Who do you want to buy it for?” She says, “For my older sister”. He says, “Oh that is so nice! Why do you want to buy your older sister this bracelet?” The little girl says, “Because I don’t have a mother or father, and my older sister takes care of us. So we want to buy her a present, and I’m willing to pay for it”. She pulls out of her pocket a whole bunch of coins that totaled seven shekel, eighty agurot, which is a little less than two dollars. The fellow says, “Wow! That’s exactly what the bracelet costs”. He wraps up the bracelet and says, “You write a card to your sister while I wrap the bracelet”. In a short amount of time, he finishes wrapping the bracelet, he wipes away his tears, and hands the little girl the bracelet.
A few hours later the older sister comes in and says” I’m terribly embarrassed. My sister should not have come here. She shouldn’t have taken it without paying.” He says to her, “What are you talking about?” She says, “What do you mean? This bracelet costs thousands of dollars. My little sister doesn’t have thousands of dollars, she doesn’t even have ten dollars. So she obviously didn’t pay for it”. The fellow who owns the jewelry store says, “You couldn’t be more wrong. She paid me in full. She paid seven shekel, eighty agurot, and a broken heart. I want to tell you something. I am an alman, I lost my wife a number of years ago. People come into my store every single day. They come in and buy expensive pieces of jewelry, but all these people can afford it. When your sister walked in, for the first time in so very long since my wife had died, I once again felt what love means”. He gave her the bracelet and wished her well.
Says, Rav Go’el Elkarif, we come to the Ribono Shel Olam and we want to buy something very expensive. We want to buy life, but we cannot afford it. We don’t have the money to pay for it. We don’t have the zechusim. So we come to the Ribono Shel Olam and we empty our pockets, with what? A kabbalah here and a kabbalah there; I’ll keep cholov yisroel during the Asrers Yimei Teshuva, I’ll keep pas yisroel like the Mishnah Brura says, I’ll pick up the phone and call someone who is lonely, I wil learn an extra five minutes mussar, I will be kind, I won’t speak lashon harah for two hours; something small. The Ribono Shel Olam says, “Oh, you don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve felt what love means”. The Ribono Shel Olam sees how much we are willing to do, how much we love him, and he says, “You know what? You have touched my heart. Here it is, paid in full.”