There is an amazing Bitachon story revolving around the birth of the רמ’’א, one of the foremost codifiers of Jewish Law. His father, Reb Isserel, was a great צדיק and מהדר במצוות. His parnasa was earned through his wholesale business. Many small store owners would come to Reb Isserel to purchase various goods in bulk and resell them in their stores.
On Fridays, at exactly 12:00 pm, Reb Isserel would take out his keys and close up shop for Shabbos; no matter what was happening. He would then spend his time preparing for Shabbos. He did this because Shabbos was truly important to him. Everyone knew of Reb Isserel’s Minhag, even the local children. In שמים as well, they were impressed with how he was prepared to lose business in order to have ample time to prepare for Shabbos. However, it was decided to test him and see if he would give up even a very profitable business opportunity on Friday after 12:00 pm.
One Friday at about 11:30 a.m. an ornate coach pulled up in front of Reb Isserel’s store. A very wealthy man emerged and immediately entered Reb Isserel’s shop. He said that he wished to purchase huge amounts of goods, and was prepared to pay handsomely, but he needed all of the goods that very day. Reb Isserel replied, “I am glad to serve you, but we will need to hurry as I am going to close the store in thirty minutes.”
The merchant began to place his order and soon there was indeed a large amount of wares about to be sold. “Ring up the total and I will pay without haggling,” said the merchant. As Reb Isserel was about to start calculating, he looked up his clock and saw that it read 12:00 pm.
“I’m sorry,” said Reb Isserel, “but I must close the store now. If you wish you may return on Sunday to complete the transaction.”
Totally shocked, the merchant exclaimed, “You are prepared to lose so much business over a few minutes? I need it today; Sunday is too late!”
Reb Isserel took out his keys and the merchant realized that Reb Isserel was serious. He pleaded and threatened but nothing helped. Reb Isserel closed his shop and thus he passed the test from above. Hashem rewarded Reb Isserel when a year later a son was born to him. He was called Moshe and he grew up to become one of the greatest guides in הלכה which many Yidden follow to this day.
The battle in this story is, what was more important to Reb Isserel; money, or his special minhag of preparing for Shabbos? His Shabbos preparations were his unique way of telling Hashem that Shabbos was important to him and he wanted to experience Shabbos in the most complete and proper manner possible. To prepare for Shabbos properly is one way to ensure appreciation for Shabbos. Shabbos prevailed and what was really a test ended up earning him a huge שכר.
Another interesting point for the pursuer of Bitachon is what the reward was. One might think that the reward should have been great opulence for that is what Reb Isserel was prepared to give up. For Reb Isserel however wealth could hardly be considered a reward. For money is material and limited in its existence, therefore it is not such a great reward. A son like the Rama is eternal and his teachings of Torah are eternal as they continue to guide and inspire. Although to Reb Isserel reward was not the objective, as he did not know that he was being tested from above, nonetheless it is doubtless that the reward he received held more value in his eyes.