Ki Kiamcha: Pharmacist Wins Bet After Relying on Jewish Values


Rabbi Noach Greenberg (name changed) brought his wife to the hospital for elective surgery. They arrived on the night before the operation, and the nurse asked if she had followed all the instructions, including taking specific pills. Mrs. Greenberg frankly admitted that she had not. “You can’t go into surgery without this medication,” the nurse responded. “The operation will have to be postponed.”

The distraught Mrs. Greenberg raced to the pharmacy downstairs, hoping to obtain the prescription, but it was a few minutes after closing time and the doors were locked. She pounded frantically on the door until a pharmacist came out and she explained the situation to him. “I’m sorry,” he said kindly, “but our computers are already turned off, and I have no way to take payment for the prescription from you.”

“Please,” Mrs. Greenberg begged, “my husband will bring the money first thing in the morning.”

The pharmacist hesitated. “All right,” he finally relented, “but you need to realize that if he doesn’t pay for the pills, the money will be coming out of my paycheck.”

The next morning, Rabbi Greenberg returned to the store and asked a pharmacist where he could find his benefactor in order to pay his debt. Another worker overheard the conversation and piped up, “Dan won the bet!” It emerged that the pharmacists had taken wagers on whether the money would be repaid. One of the losing pharmacists turned to a colleague and remarked, “You didn’t tell me the woman was Jewish. I wouldn’t have taken the bet if I had known!”

Rabbi Shimon Schwab once commented, “Webster’s Dictionary contains a verb ‘to jew,’ which it defines, ‘to cheat, to be engaged in sharp practices.’ I live with the hope to see the day when there will be a new edition of the dictionary that will define ‘to jew’ as ‘to be scrupulously honest, to be decent.’ That would be a real kiddush Hashem.” Mashiach will surely come as soon as such a transformation takes place.

It seemed that someone had already begun to alter the dictionary definition of the term “to jew.”

Rabbi Shraga Freedman is the author of Sefer Mekadshei Shemecha, Living Kiddush Hashem, and A Life Worth Living.
Email [email protected] for a free sefer. Visit

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