"Now my debt is paid — the exact amount you had saved up for your daughter’s dowry"
ocheved waited for two hours, and finally the house fell silent. Hopefully, even Marat was now dozing off the effects of all the alcohol he had put into his system. It was time to get out of there.
Yocheved tiptoed from the room and found Marat sleeping like a baby at the bottom of the steps. She stepped around him and saw three other men snoring at the table, their heads flat against the wood.
But as she was about to open the door, she spotted another guard, not quite fully drunk, who was still drinking from a flask outside.
She quickly raced over to the massive cloak that Marat had worn when he was traveling. She took it off the peg on the wall and swung it around her body. It was extremely heavy, and she wondered what type of material could possibly weigh this much. She threw the hood over her head and opened the door.
She raced over to one of the horses, ignoring the drunken guard who mumbled, “Marat…?”
She clambered onto one of the horses and galloped off.
Yocheved eventually reached home and breathed a sigh of relief. Her escape was nothing less than miraculous. She told her husband Shaya the entire story and showed him the giant cloak to prove her events of the story.
“Oh, wow! What a miracle!” said Shaya. He paused for awhile, and then said, “You know something? There’s a great tzaddik who lives in Posen. Let’s go there and speak to him. His name is Rav Naftali. They say he’s capable of performing miracles. If he can help us restore peace to our home, then that would truly be nothing short of a miracle. What do you think?”
“What do I think? I think that’s an amazing idea!”
A few days later Chaim was cleaning the tables in the tavern when he overheard two men talking. One of the men looked familiar. He was a giant of a man and spoke in deep, gruff tones.
“So that’s why I’m so upset today. Do you realize that I had that little prisoner girl trapped so perfectly? And then I had to get drunk in my hasty foolishness, and she escaped right out from under my nose!”
Chaim froze. He had already heard what had happened to his daughter.
“But you know what upsets me the most? She escaped with my cloak! And inside that cloak I had hidden all of my money! That Jewish witch must have known that, and she took the cloak with all the money sewn secretly inside the fabric. So, you asked me why the long face, and that’s the reason why!”
Chaim raced from the inn and went to his daughter’s home. She was not there. Someone said they had traveled to Posen to speak to Rav Naftali. Chaim went into the house, grabbed Marat’s cloak, retrieved his horse, and set off for Posen.
Rav Naftali listened to Shaya and Yocheved tell their story. His heart broke for them. A Jewish home, the resting place for the Shechinah, and here it was filled with so much anguish…
As they were in the middle of talking, the door burst open and Chaim entered.
Before Chaim could even open his mouth, Rav Naftali began to speak, his eyes shining brightly.
“Precious Yidden, listen to me. Do you know how much Hashem loves you? Do you know that before each person is born it is announced in Heaven who their zivug will be? You two are meant for each other, set aside for one another before you even came into this world. Nothing is by accident, everything is by Divine design. In fact…”
Rav Naftali looked at Chaim and the cloak in his hand.
“That cloak, which belonged to the rasha Marat, who had kidnapped you, is filled with money. Money that is now entirely yours. But not only that. Long ago I made an agreement to your father that I would marry his daughter, but the agreement was annulled because as I said, in Shamayim everyone is chosen specially for each other, and you were chosen specially for Shaya. But I nonetheless pledged that with the help of Hashem, I would one day pay back your father, Rav Chaim, the entire amount he had given originally to Marat to pay for my release from captivity. Open up the cloak, Chaim, and you will see that inside is the exact sum I owe you. Now my debt is paid — the exact amount you had saved up for your daughter’s dowry before you paid it all to Marat for my release.”
Chaim ripped open the cloak and counted the coins there. It was the exact amount he had saved to give to his daughter Yocheved at her wedding. The exact amount he had given to Marat, the exact amount young Naftali had said he would one day repay.
The incredible hashgachah was not lost on the couple. They appreciated the infinite wisdom of Hashem more than ever, realizing that nothing is random, and if they were placed together, it was because they belonged to one another. Hashem clearly believed in their marriage, couldn’t they as well?
And so, they did.
And finally, these righteous, upright Yidden, lived happily ever after.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 917)
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