I went to the local electronics store yesterday to pick up a new bread machine. The owner keeps the store open in the late afternoon and early evening hours. He learns Torah during the day and then opens the store to sell appliances to locals.
This is Ramat Bet Shemesh in 2009. The owner of this shop is a young man, late 20’s at most. He answers all questions and even offers extra information honestly, even when it leads you not to buy his merchandise.
So as I’m paying for the bread machine, (which he tried to talk me out of buying until we’d baked a loaf or two with a neighbor’s machine to make sure we were really going to use it), I asked him if the economy has affected his sales. He asked me what I was refering to. I told him about the economy and stock market in the USA and the world downturn, etc… He had no idea what I was talking about. No TV, no radio, no newspapers. He doesn’t listen to or read the news.
However, he’s very knowledgeable about all his products. He knows the appliances industry. You want to buy a stove or a refrigerator? He’ll tell you what importer is unloading stock they couldn’t sell in France, and what products have the best repair record. He doesn’t go by the adage that you must sit and learn Torah and do nothing else. Part of his service to the community is to sell quality products at a fair price, and then back them with solid service should something go wrong.
He learns Torah by day and night, and sells appliances by afternoon so that he can continue learning Torah.
For a second, I thought he was kidding about not knowing the news. But then it became apparent that not only was he serious, but truly the happier one. Quite refreshing.