The Most Special Business Partner



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    הצלה 1290

    The Most Special Business Partner

    Does the hood of your coat have fur on it? If it does, it’s probably not real animal fur. These days, most companies put fake fur on their coats. But not so long ago, things were different. The warmest coats were made out of real animal fur, and they were very fancy  • By Baila BrikmanBeis Moshiach Magazine • Full Story

    By Baila Brikman, Beis Moshiach

    Does the hood of your coat have fur on it? If it does, it’s probably not real animal fur. These days, most companies put fake fur on their coats. But not so long ago, things were different. The warmest coats were made out of real animal fur, and they were very fancy.

    It took a lot of hard work to make these fur coats. People called trappers would go out into the forests to find animals with the right type of fur. They would kill the animals, remove the furs, and then sell them to fur dealers.

    The fur dealers would take the raw furs to their factories and have them cleaned. After all, nobody wants to wear a coat that smells like a fox!

    Once they were cleaned, the furs would be sewn into coats. Sometimes, fur dealers had to use the fur of a few animals just to make one coat! Because they were so hard to make, fur coats were very expensive.

    ***

    Mr. Max Katsch was a fur dealer who lived in England with his wife and two children. Baruch Hashem, his business was successful and he was able to support his family.

    Life was good, besides for one thing: according to the doctors, they weren’t able to have any more children.

    This made the Katsch’s very sad. They were thankful for the two children that they had, but they wished they could have more.

    One day, Mr. Katsch’s business partner tapped him on the shoulder. “Max,” he said kindly, “I see how sad you are about what the doctors said. I thought of a plan that might help you. I’m going to New York in a few weeks. How about you come with me? You’ll be able to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe and ask for a bracha.”

    Right away, Mr. Katsch agreed.

    The date for their trip arrived, and soon enough, they found themselves flying across the Atlantic Ocean. As soon as they arrived in New York, Mr. Katsch went to 770 and stood outside the Rebbe’s room for a chance to see the Rebbe.

    As he waited, he saw something amazing:

    A man who couldn’t walk by himself was sitting in a wheelchair. When it was his turn to see the Rebbe, he was wheeled inside the Rebbe’s room. After a few minutes, he came out… without his wheelchair! He was standing on his own two feet!

    His face was lit up with the biggest smile and he started to dance. What a miracle! Just minutes before, he wasn’t able to walk. And now, the Rebbe had healed him!

    After seeing such a miracle, Mr. Katsch was sure that the Rebbe would help him too.

    After a while, it was his turn. He went inside the Rebbe’s room and asked for a bracha for more children. The Rebbe benched him, and within a short amount of time, the Katsch family was blessed with another girl and boy.

    ***

    In the 1970’s, Mr. Katsch went to visit the Rebbe again.

    “Would you like to be business partners with me?” the Rebbe suddenly asked.

    Mr. Katsch almost fainted! The Rebbe was asking him to be his business partner?!

    “Of course!” he exclaimed.

    “Only if you do what I tell you,” the Rebbe said. “Partners do everything together.”

    After Mr. Katsch agreed to this condition, the Rebbe took some money from his drawer and gave it to his new business partner. “This is my investment in the business,” the Rebbe said. “Now, go and buy a lot of a certain type of fur.”

    Mr. Katsch was confused. Why should he buy that type of fur? There was nothing special about it. But the Rebbe was telling him to buy it, so he had to listen.

    Mr. Katsch went back to England and spent a few thousand dollars on that type of fur. But when he called the Rebbe to let him know, the Rebbe said, “That’s not enough. Buy a lot more!”

    So Mr. Katsch went out and bought more. And more. And more. Each time he called, the Rebbe told him that it wasn’t enough!

    “But I have no more money left,” Mr. Katsch explained. “I can’t buy more fur!”

    “So borrow from the bank,” the Rebbe said.

    Mr. Katsch listened to the Rebbe, just as he had promised. He went to meet with the bank manager and explained that he needed an enormous amount of money to be able to buy all the furs.

    When he finished talking, the bank manager looked at him like he was crazy. “You must be kidding,” he said. “I can’t lend you so much money! How do I know that you’ll pay it back? I’m afraid that I can’t help you.”

    Mr. Katsch sighed. “Can I make a phone call?”

    “Go right ahead,” the bank manager said. “But I won’t be convinced.”

    Nervously, Mr. Katsch dialed the number to 770. “Rabbi Groner, the bank manager doesn’t want to lend me the money!”

    “Give the bank manager the phone,” Rabbi Groner instructed.

    The bank manager put the phone to his ear and listened quietly for a few minutes. “Alright,” he finally said, hanging up the phone. “You can have all the money you need. But you’ll have to pay everything back!”

    What did the Rebbe tell the bank manager that made him change his mind? No one knows.

    ***

    Mr. Katsch left the bank with an enormous amount of money. As he walked home, he began to feel very nervous. What if the business wouldn’t work out? How would he pay all the money back?

    He pushed those scary thoughts away and concentrated on buying all the furs he could find. That’s what the Rebbe told him to do, right?

    When he spent all the money and there was nothing left to buy, he called the Rebbe. “I bought all the furs!” he said proudly. “Now what?”

    “Bring them to your factory and start making them into coats.”

    Immediately, Mr. Katsch went to his factory. “Stop everything you’re doing!” he announced to his workers. “From now on, we are only cleaning and making coats from this type of fur!”

    His workers got right to work. They cleaned and sewed day after day. After six months, all the furs were ready to be sold.

    Mr. Katsch called the Rebbe. “The furs are ready! Should I sell them?”

    “No,” the Rebbe said. “Don’t sell them. Just wait.”

    Mr. Katsch tried to wait. He bit his nails and paced the living room. He counted sheep and read books. But as the months went by, he got very nervous. The bank was charging him tons of extra money for not paying them back yet. He owed an insane amount of money, and he had no way to pay it back. If only he could just sell the furs…

    He was so worried, he started calling the Rebbe every day! But each time, the Rebbe would say to continue waiting.

    One day, Mr. Katsch heard that the value of his furs had gone down. If he would sell them, he would lose all his money and have no way to pay back the bank.

    Mr. Katsch became even more nervous. Now he was really doomed! His worst fears were coming true.

    He started calling the Rebbe even more often, but the Rebbe said to continue waiting.

    Those days of waiting were so hard. Mr. Katsch could barely sleep at night! He imagined the bank manager banging on his door, demanding all the money back and threatening to take away his house. Then he would be left with nothing, not even a place to live!

    Did the Rebbe make a mistake? Was he giving him bad advice? Mr. Katsch was so stressed, he felt like he would burst.

    But after another sleepless night, he noticed something strange. The value of his furs had gone up a bit!

    Right away, he called the Rebbe. “If I sell everything now, I’ll lose some money,” he told the Rebbe. “But it won’t be as bad as before. At least I won’t be losing everything! Should I do it?”

    “No,” the Rebbe said firmly. “Continue doing nothing. Just wait. Don’t sell anything.”

    Mr. Katsch couldn’t handle the pressure anymore, but he stuck to his promise and listened to the Rebbe.

    The next month, the value of the fur went up a bit more. He watched the value climb higher and higher, until he would finally be able to sell them for a small profit and make a little bit of money. Finally!

    He felt so relieved. “Should I sell now?” he asked the Rebbe. “I just want to get rid of the furs and pay back the bank already! It’s been a year and a half since I took out the loan!”

    “Wait,” the Rebbe said.

    Mr. Katsch couldn’t believe it, but he stayed quiet. Just as he had promised, he listened to the Rebbe. He just waited and waited and waited some more.

    The entire time, he called the Rebbe each day to ask what to do.

    ***

    Meanwhile, other fur dealers needed to buy that type of fur. The only problem was, they couldn’t find it anywhere! After asking around, they heard that the only person who had it was Mr. Katsch. He had bought all of it a few years before!

    They ran to him, begging him to sell them the furs. But just as the Rebbe had told him to, Mr.  Katsch said no. He wouldn’t sell any of it.

    “We’ll pay you anything you want!” they shouted. “We just need those furs!”

    Just like that, the value of his furs skyrocketed. They became very valuable!

    Mr. Katsch became very excited. Right away, he called the Rebbe. “People are offering me huge amounts of money for the furs!” he exclaimed. “Should I sell them now?”

    “Yes!” the Rebbe said.

    Mr. Katsch let out his breath. He could finally stop waiting and start selling! He sold all the furs at a very expensive price and made tons of money. Not only was he able to pay back the bank, but he made millions of dollars in profit!

    His business partner had been right all along.

    Mr. Katsch traveled to New York to have a yechidus with the Rebbe. He tried to give the Rebbe his half of the profits, but the Rebbe refused to take a penny. Instead, he told him to use the money for tzedaka.

    Before leaving the yechidus, Mr. Katsch turned to the Rebbe. “Can we continue being business partners?” he asked hopefully.

    The Rebbe shook his head and said that the partnership couldn’t continue. There had been too many phone calls and doubts. “Partners need to trust each other,” the Rebbe explained. “You should have had more trust that everything would work out.”

    Mr. Katsch felt bad that they couldn’t be partners anymore, but he also felt happy to have had such a special zechus. He went back to England and used the money for tzedaka and to build a cheder in Stamford Hill, just as the Rebbe told him to.

    We learn from this story that as Chassidim of the Rebbe, we can’t have any doubts. The Rebbe is our leader, and he knows what’s best for us. When he says something, we need to have complete bitachon that it will come true!

    When the Rebbe tells us that we are the last generation of galus and the first generation that will see Moshiach, we have to know that it’s true. Even if it seems that things aren’t working out, we need to know that the Rebbe sees the full picture. He is telling us, “Just wait. The right time is coming, and it will happen very soon.”

    ***

    After this story, Mr. Katsch continued to receive a lot of personal attention from the Rebbe. Once, he told the Rebbe that the doctors had told him to stop smoking. He knew that it was very bad for his health, but he just couldn’t stop his bad habit.

    The Rebbe told him, “I will take care of it.”

    The next time Mr. Katsch tried to take a cigarette out of his pocket, a strange thing happened: his hand became stiff! No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t bend his fingers to take it. This happened again and again, until he was smoke free.

    Thanks to the Rebbe, he was finally able to take care of his health.

    As heard first hand from Max Katsch’s Grandson – Shetiel Katsch

    *

    The magazine can be obtained in stores around Crown Heights. To purchase a subscription, please go to: bmoshiach.org

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