Rabbi Paysach Krohn told a story about a man named Jacobo Sherem from Mexico. Jacobo told the story directly to the Rabbi. He is a fabulous architect, and he would build large buildings, sell them, and use the profits to build even bigger buildings, and then sell them as well. At one point, in the beginning of 1985 he completed a magnificent edifice in downtown Mexico City, but because of the high mortgage it was too pricey to sell.
At that same time, he began becoming more religious. He started learning with a man named Shia Deutch in a kollel in his neighborhood called the Aram Tzoba Kollel. Shia convinced him to start coming to shul on Friday nights. He was not shomer Shabbat at that time, but he did begin slowly by committing to go to shul. He went for a few weeks in a row and was proud of his small growth. Two people from another country made an appointment with him to see his building. They met on a Thursday, and the meeting carried on into Friday. They were very interested, but they were taking a long time inspecting it and making sure it would be good for them. Jacobo noticed the hour was getting late, and he did not want to miss going to shul on Friday night. He politely told the men if the inspections and negotiations were not completed by a certain time, they would have to pick up again after the weekend. The men told him, “We are traveling back tomorrow. It must be completed today.” They knew how desperate Jacobo was for a buyer, and they indeed felt they had the upper hand. When there was just an hour left until shul, Jacobo told them he’s sorry, but he has to end the meeting. He said “I hope you can come back on Monday.” They told him, “Absolutely not, we’re leaving tomorrow. No deal.” He stayed strong. He went home and got ready for shul. That night he was having second thoughts while reviewing the events with his wife. He said to her, “Maybe I’m crazy? I’ve gone a few weeks in a row to shul. What would have been so bad if I missed once? Imagine we could have sold that building. I would just go back to shul next week and start again fresh.” It was very difficult for him, but in his heart he knew he did the right thing. Two weeks later, on September 19th, Mexico City experienced the worst earthquake in its history. Just about every building in downtown Mexico collapsed, except one, Jacobo’s building. After things settled, the government realized they didn’t have a building and corporations were desperate for office space. Jacobo was able to rent out his space at astronomical prices. Eventually he sold that building for a price far beyond his wildest dreams. He became instantly wealthy as a result.
He then became a fully observant Jew. Everyone knew he sold that building but no one knew the details until he made his first siyum masechet which he finished with Shia Deutch. At the siyum he told over this story and there he showed pictures from an aerial view of downtown Mexico devastated with only his building standing. He said, “כי אשמרה שבת קל ישמרני-Because I guarded Shabbat, Hashem guarded me.” No one ever loses by staying faithful to Hashem. It may appear that way, but that’s only to test us. In the end we always gain. לעילוי נשמת חנה פרומט בת אפרים ע״ה
From iTorah .com