Many of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov's ways might have seemed strange to an outsider. But Reb Zev Wolf Kitzes, the Baal Shem Tov's constant companion, had enough confidence in his Rebbe never to doubt his actions. He knew that in the end — even if it took years — all would be understood.

Reb Zev Wolf once accompanied the Baal Shem Tov on a visit to a certain village Jew. The impoverished villager welcomed the Chassidic master into his home.

"I must have a donation of eighteen rubles for a very important cause," the Baal Shem Tov requested. The poor man did not have this large sum. But, considering that it was the Baal Shem Tov making the request, the villager took some of his furniture and his cow, sold them, and gave the Baal Shem Tov the money. Reb Zev Wolf looked on silently while his master took the money and then departed.

Several days later the villager's rent was due on his inn. He could not produce the sum and the landlord evicted him. The villager, seeing no future for himself in this small village, decided to try his luck elsewhere. He finally found himself a tiny hut in a different village with a different landlord. By selling some more of his possessions, the villager managed to buy a cow. The cow provided him with his sole source of income; he sold her milk and eked out a meager living.

Some time later the local landowner's cow became sick and her milk was unusable. One of the squire's servants who knew of the new tenant quickly went to this villager and bought milk for the squire.

When the squire tasted the milk, he commented, "This milk is of a superior quality. Tell the owner of this cow that I will pay handsomely for the privilege of being his only customer."

This incident turned the tide of fortune for the villager. Each day he delivered milk to the manor and each day the squire commented on the quality of the milk and milk products derived from it. He grew fond of the Jew and began to consult him about his business, slowly turning over to him many responsibilities. The squire trusted him implicitly and appreciated the Jew's honesty, reliability, and faithful service.

The squire's relationship and bond with the villager became so deep that, being childless, he transferred ownership of his entire estate, which included that village and the nearby town and its surrounding lands, to the Jew. Feeling that now everything was in good hands, the squire took leave and went abroad after having given the Jew legal title to that area.

A few years later, Reb Zev Wolf came to the village of the new landowner collecting money on behalf of Jewish prisoners and captives. Reb Zev Wolf had already collected all but 300 rubles of the sum which the Baal Shem Tov had designated.

Upon meeting with the village rabbi, Reb Zev Wolf questioned him as to why he was so festively attired. "I am going, together with a group of the town dignitaries, to greet the landlord of this city who will be paying us a visit today," said the rabbi. "Why don't you come along with us? He is a Jew and will most probably be willing to contribute to your cause."

Reb Zev Wolf accompanied the rabbi and his companions. The landlord greeted the delegation warmly, paying special attention to Reb Zev Wolf. After a little while, the landlord took Reb Zev Wolf aside. "You don't remember me, do you?" he asked. Reb Zev Wolf could not place the wealthy man's face. The landlord took out 300 rubles and gave it to Reb Zev Wolf.

It was only upon returning to the Baal Shem Tov that Reb Zev Wolf understood the entire story. "The last 300 rubles were donated by the village Jew whom we once asked for a donation of 18 rubles. Today he is a wealthy man."

"Let me now tell you why I extracted that large sum from him when his circumstances were so difficult," explained the Baal Shem Tov. "A change of fortune was awaiting him in the future but not in that place. It was necessary to bring him to the end of his rope so that he would be forced to leave and settle elsewhere. That is exactly what happened. The rest you already know."