Yisrael lived in Ramat Gan, Israel, where he had his own little house and small farm. He was a chicken farmer and had enough laying chickens to provide him with a modest income for himself and family. He was neither rich nor poor, but he was very generous when it came to giving charity. He was originally from Vienna, and during the many years he had lived in the Holy Land, he earned a fine reputation as a G‑d-fearing and very kindly man.

One day, Yisrael had an unexpected visitor, a native of Vienna who had recently settled in the Holy Land. Yisrael received his old ac­quaintance very heartily. This acquaintance had once been very rich in Vienna, but had lost every­thing during the war. Yisrael soon learned that his friend came to ask for an interest-free loan to marry off his daughter.

Yisrael found himself in a tight spot. He had no cash at all, as everything was invested in his chicken farm. Yisrael was quite upset at not being able to help his friend, and explained the situation to him with repeated apologies.

"Don't take it to heart, my friend," the visitor said. "I know you would not have turned me down if you could help it. Surely, the Almighty will send me His help in some other way." Saying which, the vis­itor departed, hiding his disappointment.

That evening, when Yisrael went out to feed his chickens, he found one of his best layers dead.

"What a loss!" Yisrael thought. He took the dead chicken and gave it away to a poor Arab who hap­pened to pass by.

Early the following morning, when Yisrael went out to collect the newly-laid eggs, he found another dead chicken in the coop. As ill-luck would have it, this one, too, was one of his best layers. "What a misfortune!" Yisrael thought.

When the same thing happened again on the third day, it really began to worry Yisrael.

Yisrael returned home and began to think. He remem­bered the saying of the Sages, "If one sees misfor­tune befall him, he should search his heart and examine his deeds." There was no doubt in Yisrael's heart that he had done something wrong. It must be a warning from the merciful G‑d to mend his ways before anything more serious happens!

He began to think if there was anything wrong he had done, or anything good he had failed to do, in recent days. Then he remembered the visit of his countryman whom he had turned away with empty hands.

"Here was an opportunity to do such a great mitzvah," he began to blame himself, "an act of kindness as well as helping a poor girl get married, and I did nothing about it! To be sure, I had no money; but the least I could have done was to go out and try to bor­row the money from my friends. After all, my coun­tryman was a newcomer, and probably still had very few friends, if any. He came to the first, and perhaps only, friend he knew, and was turned away with nothing! Shame on you, Yisrael! You have failed miserably!"

Yisrael made a quick and resolute decision. He must find his friend and lend him the money, even if he himself had to go out and borrow it. Yisrael set out immediately to visit a number of friends, and when he had the full amount his friend had hoped to borrow from him, he went out to look for him. He came to Tel Aviv and began to search for his countryman, whose name he knew but not his address. He passed the word around that he urgently wished to see that man on a most important matter. He re­turned home, hoping that his message would reach its destination.

A couple of days later, his friend from Vienna turned up. Yisrael received him with such joy, as if he had found a long-lost brother.

"I have been able to raise the loan for you, my friend," Yisrael hastened to tell him.

"Thank you very much. I knew you would not let me down if you could help it. But I have already been helped," the landsman replied.

"But how? When? I mean ... it's only a few days ... I don't want to miss such a mitzvah..." Yisrael was very disappointed, and found no words to express his disappointment.

His friend began to tell him what happened.

"You see, when I left your house last time, I was very disappointed. You were my only hope, and I had felt confident that you would help me. There was no one else I could turn to, and so with a broken heart I went to the Western Wall and poured out my heart to our Heavenly Father. I prayed to G‑d and said, 'My dear G‑d, there are three partners in every child: the father, the mother and G‑d. So you, dear G‑d, are at least as responsible for my daughter as I am. I cannot help her get married, so You must help her!' And so I prayed and cried, and suddenly I felt a great sense of relief. I knew that G‑d had accepted my prayer."

"So where did you get the money?" Yisrael persisted, and his heart beat harder than ever.

"Why, I have not got the money yet, but I know that G‑d has accepted my prayer, and that my daughter will get married on time, as arranged."

"That's it! Don't you see? I am G‑d's messen­ger. I have the money for you. Here it is!" Yisrael was overjoyed.

"Wait a minute, my friend. I certainly appreciate your kindness, but I cannot take your money. This is not the way I thought G‑d was going to help me. I had given you up, and I am sure there must be another way…"

But Yisrael began to argue with his friend. He pleaded with his friend to take the money and not to deprive him of the great mitzvah. There would be no urgency also about the repayment of the loan. It could be repaid over a long period, at the borrower's convenience. Yisrael did his best to persuade his friend to accept the loan, but his friend was not convinced, and felt that it would be a weakness of faith in G‑d on his part.

Finally, an idea occurred to Yisrael.

"Tell me exactly when did you go to the Western Wall?"

It was on the third day after he had left him. He even told Yisrael the exact hour.

''As I thought!" Yisrael exclaimed jubilantly. "This is precisely the moment I had decided to go out and get the money and give it to you!"

There was no longer any doubt. The countryman accepted the loan, and it is difficult to say whose joy was greater: the poor man's, who was happy to be able to marry off his daughter, or Yisrael's, who was happy to correct a wrong, and to fulfill this great mitzvah.