http://revach.net/article.php?id=4533

Section: Stories   Category: Story Corner
Rav Eliyahu Chaim Meisel Calmly Shmoozes In The Bitter Cold
One winter in Lodz was particularly cold and prices of firewood skyrocketed, leaving the poor people without any means to warm themselves.  The famed Rov of the city, Rav Eliyahu Chaim Meisel, decided to take upon himself to collect money for firewood from the wealthy people of the city.

The first stop was the home of the wealthiest man in Lodz, Mr. Posnanski.  When the doorman saw the Rov coming he quickly went to get his boss, who although wearing light clothing, immediately came to the cold door personally to greet the Rov.  He invited the Rov in to talk.  The Rov returned his greeting but began to talk without moving from the door.

The Rov was making small talk and casual conversation about nothing in particular.  He discussed the comings and goings of the city, world news, on and on without seeming to indicate the reason for his visit.  Mr Posnanski stood and listened with respect while his bones began to freeze from the cold.  

The Rov kept on going with endless conversation as if he were relaxing somewhere comfortable instead of standing in the freezing cold.   After a long while the cold became too much for Mr. Posnanski and he apologetically asked the Rov if they can move into the warm living room.  Without budging Rav Eliyahu Chaim said that now he will tell him why he came.  He told him about the lack of firewood, and Mr. Posnanski gave him the large amount that he asked for.  Only then did the Rov finally accede and followed the host into the living room.

When they sat down in the comfort and warmth, Mr Posnanski asked the Rov why he insisted on speaking for so long at the door in the cold.  Rav Eliyahu Chaim said that the world says that a satisfied man cannot comprehend the pain of those who are starving.  Similarly those who live in heated homes cannot fathom the pain of those linving in frigid apartment with no heat.  Had we sat inside you would not have given as generously as you did after standing in the cold for so long and experiencing a small taste of the poor peoples' pain.  (Gedolei HaDoros)