Paint That Never Dried
We live behind a subway station, which gives us many opportunities to perform the mitzvah of hashavas aveida, but also means that suspicious characters hang out near our building at all hours. There are security incidents almost daily.
The subway wall is actually one of the walls around our yard, and one day I came home and was shocked to find huge graffiti on the entire wall. I had no idea who could have done this, but one thing was clear to me. I did not want my children to see this, no matter what. I took an old pail of paint and a huge paintbrush down from the attic, and painted the wall from top to bottom in the middle of the night. The results weren’t very aesthetic, but it definitely covered the graffiti completely. Since it was very late, I wasn’t careful to leave a “Caution! Wet paint” sign. I figured that by morning, the paint would have dried. What I didn’t take into account was that quick-drying paint doesn’t dry if the wall has lots of moisture.
When I left my house in the morning, I noticed a group of children getting onto a bus with white stains decorating some of their briefcases. I checked the wall, and saw that I was in trouble. The paint was shiny in some places as if it had just been applied, and in other places it was dirty and stained. A small note pasted on the wall read Whoever painted this wall is a thief!
I was so upset. I had no idea what had been damaged and how much damage people had suffered. I quickly called a professional to take care of the paint, and hung a note on the wall asking people to contact me for complete compensation. I got several calls over the next few days, and had to pay a substantial amount for ruined suits and hats, but I knew that there were definitely more people that had suffered damage. Thousands of people pass through this station daily! With no other option, I deposited the approximate cost of the damage in the Neki Kapayim fund before Yom Kippur 5782. May this action be a kappara for me.
Before I started my current business, I tried my hand at a small tech startup. The funding came from a pooled syndicate of private community investors. We waited for a long time, in the hope that it would finally turn a profit, but unfortunately it never went anywhere. I tried to refund the investors, but only 7 members came to claim their money. With no way to track down the pool members, and no real liquidity to actually pay all of them, I moved on to another business, where I B”H saw a lot of success.
Today, I have enough to repay my debts, but I don’t know where to turn. Chasdei Hashem I discovered Neki Kapayim, so that I can enter the Yomim Noraim with a clean slate.
I recently hired a new controller who was exceedingly meticulous. In his review of our books, he discovered a number of old invoices that had never been paid, due to a dispute. He told me that my company was the liable party, and I wanted to take care of the invoices, but the business that was owed had closed years ago, and I had no way to repay my debt.
I’m grateful that I was able to deposit the funds with Neki Kapayim, who would hold the funds until they could be properly returned.
43 years ago, as a young man in a Monsey yeshiva, I used to go on hiking trips in the nearby mountains. We were near a stream, and suddenly I felt something crunch underfoot. I saw that I had broken someone’s glasses. Afraid that it might belong to one of my friends, and afraid of his reaction, I decided not to say anything, and later, on the bus, I would check who was missing his glasses so that I could repay him. We got to the bus, which was parked quite a distance away, and nobody was missing their glasses! I realized that the glasses did not belong to any of my friends, but returning to the water was not an option, and even if I went back, the owner would be long gone.
Since then I’ve been carrying a weight on my heart - until I heard of Neki Kapayim.
I bought a number of clothes at a sale in my neighborhood. Later, I discovered that I had 2 identical bags with the same pair of pants, which someone else must have lost. I tried to find out who had organized the sale, asking the hall, people in the neighborhood, and even a store which I thought might have been the manufacturer, but no one was able to help me.
And then I found Neki Kapayim, which finally allowed me to perform Hashavas Aveida, of course in the hope that one day the real owner will be found and the complete hashava will be done.
For nearly 20 years, I had 4 one-dollar bills folded in a really specific way in the outside pocket of my wallet. I know I folded it this way to remind me that it belonged to someone, but for all my good intentions, I had no recollection whatsoever as to whom I was supposed to return it to!
When we heard about Neki Kapayim, I was so relieved. My husband and I pooled a few incidents, and gave a credit card online. I put the four bills into tzedakah anyway. My wallet is lighter, but it can’t compare to my conscience, which had a stone removed from it once and for all. Thank you Neki Kapayim!
Several years ago, I accidentally bumped into a car mirror with my shopping cart. The mirror shattered, and I panicked. I was young, and I just made believe I hadn’t seen anything. But now I’ve paid the amount of the damage to Neki Kapayim, and my conscience is finally at peace.