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To Live for Others: Chapter 3  

“Please work with me. Everyone has a price. What’s yours?”


The butcher was not sure how he could possibly help this girl. The authorities openly supported ruffians like these. They would not step in to help. More likely, they would beat the butcher for having the audacity to report the kidnappers! However, he knew that if the opportunity to help another Jew, an orphan no less, was presenting itself to him, it meant Hashem wanted him to do his best to assist. How he could succeed against dangerous ruffians, he did not know, but Hashem requires us to put in our best effort, and the success of our efforts is up to Him alone.

“Wait here….” The butcher motioned for the girl to stay put, and he circled the wagon to face the kidnappers.

“Excuse me, but I’d like to speak to you a moment about the girl in the back of your wagon.”

“What about her?”

The kidnappers didn’t lift their eyes up for a moment as they grunted and heaved at the wagon wheels stuck in the mud.

“I’d like to buy her from you.”

“Not for sale.”

“Please work with me. Everyone has a price. What’s yours?”

“Not. For. Sale.”

“Come now, at least negotiate with me. I’m helping you out with your wagon. The least you could do is—”

“You’re not listening too well, are you?” One of the biggest men in the group stood up. He was a giant man, caked in mud, and looking very angry. “How many times do we have to repeat ourselves? The girl is not going anywhere, got that?”

The butcher steadied himself. He was likely one moment away from being hit in the face, or worse…. But courage still coursed through his veins. For he was not on a mission for himself. He was on a mission for Hashem. And Hashem protects those who work for Him.

“Take it easy, okay? I’m not looking to steal people from you. I’m only offering to make you all very rich. How about I go into my store and bring out every single coin I have to my name, all of my life’s savings? If you take a breath and think this through calmly, rationally, for just a moment, I think you’ll realize I’m making you an offer you’ll likely never receive again in your lifetime.”

The door to the butcher’s store banged open, and his son stood there, holding the rope. The son stopped in his tracks, his eyes darting from the butcher to the giant man.

“Um… I brought the rope, father.”

Neither the butcher nor the man glanced at the son. Their eyes bored into each other’s as time seemed to stand still. The girl in the back of the wagon closed her eyes, her lips moving quickly as she fervently prayed to Hashem for salvation.


The butcher rushed back into his store.


“Attach the rope to the wheel, and start pulling!” the butcher called through the door as he hastily scrambled to get to the chest hidden in the back of the store. “But don’t let them leave yet!”

A moment later the butcher reemerged, lugging a sack so heavy, his face was red and sweaty with exertion.

The kidnapper investigated the sack.

“All this? For one girl?”

“Yes. Like I told you already.”

“Are you crazy?”



The girl was released, and a few moments later the wagon lurched out of the mud.

The rope attached to the wagon was not returned, and the wagon rolled away with the rope following along, dragging through the mud.

“Father, the rope….”

“Forget about the rope.” The butcher took a deep breath to steady himself. His heart was still pounding in his chest.

The orphan girl burst out crying again.

“My daughter, why are you crying? You’re safe now.”

“Safe, yes. And I’ll always be grateful to you for saving me. But I have no place to go now. Where will I live? The streets? I am used to that where I am from, but here I don’t know anyone.”

“No, you will not return to the streets. You will stay with me. My wife and I will treat you like family, and you will be cared for just as we care for our own children.”

The son listened to all of this, his mouth agape in astonishment.

The girl’s face lit up.

“But you just gave away all your money to save me. How will you be able to feed another mouth? You’ve already done so much for me; I don’t want to burden you further….”

“Don’t be ridiculous, it would be our honor to have you join our family. Come, let me take you to our home so you can meet my wife.”

That day was a momentous one in the butcher’s life, to say the least. Momentous for everyone in the family. The orphan girl brought joy to their lives, and her middos were truly admirable. It was not easy to recoup the loss the butcher suffered when he redeemed the girl from her captives, but never once did he doubt his actions. He knew in his heart and mind that Chazal tell us that Hashem brings about good things from good people. The fact he was granted the chance to perform such an incredibly meritorious act indicated that he himself was meritorious.

The years flew by quickly, and before they knew it, it was time for the girl to get married. As it happened, there was someone else who also had just reached marriageable age — the butcher’s son. In those days, it was very hard for girls to be matched with a good boy, and it was even harder for those with complicated backgrounds, such as this orphan girl who had been forced to grow up with other orphan beggar girls before she moved in with the butcher.

The butcher could not bear to see the girl heartbroken as she would try to find a reputable marriage partner but fail. He also would not tolerate to see an orphan girl’s — a bas Yisrael’s — honor being besmirched by marriage offers that were downright insulting.

So, the butcher approached his son one day and they had a long talk about the purpose of life, how a Jew lives to fulfill Hashem’s Will and not his own. And to make Hashem’s Will one’s own — ah! That was the ultimate achievement.

“My dear son, I would like you to marry her and build a true bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael. Hashem will truly bless you for saving a Jewish girl from embarrassment and hurt, and allowing her to get married and start a family with honor and pride.”

The son, inspired by all of his father’s actions on behalf of the girl, agreed.

The butcher had proven himself to be a true ish chesed, but what happened next made all the challenges he had faced so far look like child’s play….

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 948)

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