23 Cheshvan 5782 / Friday, October 29, 2021 | Torah Reading: Chayei Sarah
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Gas Station Salvation    

Gas Station Salvation

He pulled up to the gas station in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night with an empty tank, and his credit card was denied. Little did he know...


Refused in the Middle of the Night 

Yoni pulled up to the gas station, noting the empty tank on his car. The clerk ran his credit card – but the transaction was denied. It was the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, on an empty stretch of highway in the middle of the USA. Who would come save him now?! 


He parked his car at the side of the station and put his head in his hands, trying to figure out what had happened. His financial situation was precarious, to put it lightly. He had been through a long and difficult period with his business but had managed to “float” for a long time until recently, the pressure reached the boiling point.  


With a lot of help from Hashem, he had managed to secure a $50,000 interest-free loan from a local gemach (Jewish free loan society). However, the repayment terms were very demanding: $5,000 every month. As is customary with these loans, Yoni had to present post-dated checks in order to receive the money. However, he instructed the fund manager to not actually use the checks; he would bring cash in every month before the date on the check. This worked for the first few months, but for whatever reason, clearly the manager had forgotten the agreement this month, and mistakenly cashed the check. The bank saw the over-drafted account and froze it – along with his debit card. 



A Glint of Light at the Bottom of the Pit 

Yoni sat in his car, depressed and defeated. He was angry at the irresponsible fund manager, angry at the bank, and angry at the car. He felt lost and utterly alone. Alone in the middle of the night, far from civilization and anyone he could call to help him. He felt like he had just been cast in to the depths of a deep pit, from which he couldn’t possibly imagine that he would ever get out of. 


In the depths of the pit of despair, suddenly, there was a glint of light. He had recently started learning the book The Garden of Emuna and some of the Gems: Booklets on thanking Hashem. He said to himself, “I don’t have a lot of options. To sit here and eat myself up won’t help me. Why not strengthen my emuna and trust in Hashem? Why not put what I learned into practice, and say thank you for this difficulty?” 


So, there, in the middle of the gas station, in the darkness of the night and the darkness of his own soul, he started to say, “thank you.” He asked Hashem to believe that everything is for the best. He thanked Hashem for everything he had, physically and spiritually. He started to realize that he wasn’t as bad off as he thought he was, and “rock bottom” could be a lot worse. 


Then he started thanking Hashem that even with his dire financial situation, there was someone willing to give him a loan to help him out, and someone else willing to be a guarantor for the loan. He thanked Hashem that until this moment, he had managed and had not collapsed completely. He also thanked Hashem for all the difficulties, and that now he was stuck without gas, and that the fund manager had cashed the check, and his account was now frozen. 


He thanked Hashem for everything. Within a short time, he found himself happy and encouraged. If he wouldn’t have felt too weird, he would have even started dancing around the gas station... 



The Gas Station Miracle 

Suddenly he thought to himself: “Maybe I have some cash in the car? Enough just to get me home?” He searched and searched and turned the car over, finding $23 all told. With the cash in hand and a big smile on his face, he ran into the clerk to buy the gas which would indeed be enough to get him home. 


The clerk noted the difference in his emotional state, and Yoni told him the whole story. The clerk then said to him: “If you’re talking about emuna, about faith – then I am going to put only $20 towards the gas. With the remaining $3, buy yourself a lottery ticket...” 


Yoni bought that lottery ticket - and he won exactly $50,000!!! 


Now, Yoni could thank Hashem for everything that happened with a full heart. Thank you that the check was cashed, and the account frozen! Thank you that I ran out of gas at that gas station! Thank you for the exact amount of cash I found in the car! Thank you that I said thank you for everything and was saved! 


This is a true story; only the name was changed. The story was told to me personally by a close friend of “Yoni” while visiting Israel. 



The Mind versus Emuna 

This story teaches us a very important lesson: What happened to Yoni, was good or bad? The answer is that there is a very clear distinction. There is the truth of the mind, and the truth of emuna – and they reside in completely different worlds. 


The mind says: This is bad! To be stuck without gas in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere is about one of the worst things that can happen to a person!  


But emuna says: This is good! This isn’t just good; it’s very good. Hashem is good and only does good. Believe in Hashem! 


The key is that you can’t understand emuna with your mind in real time. If you could, it already wouldn’t be emuna! What kind of test of emuna is it if you can easily understand it with your mind? And we were put into this world in order to learn emuna – and learning always means tests. Emuna means believing in Hashem against the understanding of the mind. 


Your mind says it’s bad? Yes, you understood well – according to what you can see and understand right now, it is bad. But you need to believe – and to believe does not mean to use your mind to try to understand what is good about the situation. It means to let go of the mind and believe anyway. It means recognizing that although this situation IS bad according to the mind’s understanding, you choose to strengthen your emuna and say “thank you” anyway, without understanding whatsoever how or why this situation could possibly be good. 



This is the first in a new series of true stories of “Say Thank You and See Miracles.” If you also have a story you would like to share, please send it to us! Please send by email (1,000 words maximum) to: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il 


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