Aside from the gift that I gave the managers, they had another motivation for approving my request. They knew that we could be relied upon to fill the quota of the “profits plan” which stated that a factory was obligated to earn a certain amount of money for the government (for example, 100,000 rubles a year). The management had to ensure that each department would bring in a certain amount so that it would add up to the required total, and I assured them that I would be able to bring in more than my quota, thus becoming indispensable to them.

In the Soviet Union there was also an individual quota for each worker. According to the law, every person had to receive an average salary of between 90-100 rubles a month. Whoever worked extra hours could earn up to 120 rubles or so a month. How absurd it sounds, but if someone earned more than that, government officials would say that they had to recalibrate his pay scale in order to align his output with the average salary.

Since I expected the output of my clothing-label enterprise to bring in large profits, I was able to register 15-20 men as my employees, while in actuality, only 4-5 people were needed to work there. This way, I was able to provide an average salary of 120 rubles a month for each of the actual employees. Officially, the rest of the revenue was supposed to go toward the salaries of each registered employee. However, those who were only registered and did not work received only a nominal portion of the salary that was listed in their name.

Those who were registered as my employees but did not work at my factory made their money on the black market so they could earn a livable wage and still be able to observe Shabbos and Yom Tov without any difficulty.

They registered as my employees just to appease the government, so as not to be persecuted as parasites. Both sides profited greatly from this arrangement.

Naturally, all of our employees, both those who worked and those who were merely registered as workers, had to be reliable people from the community. If a single person would tattle, it would lead to the arrest of everyone involved and ruin the entire enterprise.

Since we would close the factory on Shabbos, we had to locate it far from the main plant so as to avoid the scrutiny of the managers.

The managers suspected that we were closed on Shabbos. From time to time, despite all of our caution, the supervisors of the main plant announced that they were coming for inspection on Shabbos. We had no choice. We had to be there. Before Shabbos we would bring books of Chassidus and Torah to the factory, and on Shabbos morning all of us would show up and learn Chassidus or review the weekly Torah portion as we waited for the inspectors. Most of the time, they did not come; they just wanted to frighten us. But sometimes they actually showed up, walked around for a few minutes and left. They did not need to see us actively working; they were satisfied just to see us present.

When I earned a large income, I was elated because a significant portion of this money was set aside for the underground yeshiva and other communal activities.

In order for our plant to produce its labels, we established communications with factories throughout the Soviet Union, and after receiving their orders we would produce and ship the labels to them. I needed to contact many clothing factories, so I sent agents all over the Soviet Union to take orders from various factories.

One day, a brilliant idea came to my mind. Nearly every city had factories called “industrial complexes.” I obtained a list of all these factories throughout the Soviet Union and sent out hundreds of letters containing sample labels that we had manufactured. On the envelope I wrote “industrial complex” and added the name of their city. I did not have exact addresses, but in most cities, the postal workers recognized the big factories by name, and the letters usually made it to their destinations. Out of hundreds of factories that received my letters, some responded with orders. This brought in plenty of work, and I was able to stop sending out representatives for that purpose.