My Bubie believes that it is important to look past how a person dresses, or if they are beautiful on the outside and have no physical problems. In my community there is a lot of emphasis put on the clothes someone is wearing and whether or not they have a health problem. Sometimes a person won’t want to marry you if you are deaf or blind or walk funny or even if you come from a family where they weren’t religious. My Bubie says that we always have to try to “see” what a person really is like by how they treat other people, weaker people and also animals. She may be right, I’m not sure. Can someone really “see” if they are blind? My Bubie thinks so, as you can read in the next story she told us.
Once there was a kind and gentle man who was smart and handsome and loved people and animals. He learned every day and in the afternoons he would work in a shop selling household items to people who came into the store where he worked. His name was Rachamim.
Rachamim was getting to the age where it was time to find a wife. Many people recommended many young women to him and he was glad to meet with them all; however, in the end, none of the women would meet with Rachamim. You see Rachamim was blind. He was blind from birth and sometimes walked with a stick in the street so as not to bump into things and hurt himself or someone else.
When Rachamim was a child his parents sent him to a special school where he learned how to read in Braille, to write and to learn how to focus on what his ears could hear around him. Rachamim had excellent hearing and he also loved to read anything he could get in Braille. Sometimes he would go to the library or the book store when they had people reading their stories aloud because he loved to listen to stories.
All of the young women were afraid to go out with Rachamim. They were afraid at the thought of marrying someone who couldn’t see. What they didn’t realize is that people do not always see with just their eyes. Sometimes you can see with your heart and understand who is good and what is right. Rachamim could not see with his eyes but he was very, very good at seeing with his heart.
Rachamim had come to the conclusion that perhaps he would never marry and that could be his lot in life, his fate. He would try to continue to be happy, to learn and to work and to be kind to people and animals.
Everyday Rachamim came to work; he stacked the shelves in the store, helped the customers and worked at the cash register to take their money. People would tell Rachamim how much money they were giving him, if it was paper money, and he would give them the correct change because he had organized all of the money in the cash register so that each bill and coin had its own place.
One day a young woman came into the store. Rachamim always knew when someone was coming into or leaving the store because there was a bell on the door. She walked up to Rachamim and told him that she was looking for a new hairbrush because hers had broken and her hair was very long and she had to brush it every day. Rachamim recognized her voice for he had heard her helping an old woman carry her groceries one day and heard a kitty cat meow when she passed by, knowing that she had given the poor kitty a little cookie.
Rachamim showed her the shelf where all of the hairbrushes were and told her once she had decided he would be happy to wrap it up for her. Her name was Basya Chaya. So, after a long time, Basya Chaya finally decided on the brush she wanted. She went up to Rachamim, gave him the money and thanked him graciously for his help. She then left the store.
At the end of the day, when the owner of the store began to count the money in the cash register he realized that there was too much money in the box. It didn’t match the receipts for the things that they had sold that day. The owner of the store was a very honest man and he asked Rachamim if it were possible that he did not give enough change to someone who had purchased something in the store.
Rachamim thought about all of the people who had come in the store that day and remembered that each one had told him what money (paper bills) they were giving him so that he could give them the proper change, except for one person, the young woman who came to buy the brush. She did not tell him the bill she had given him. The owner of the store told Rachamim not to worry, she would probably return the next day when she realized that she had not received her proper change.
Meanwhile, Basya Chaya brought her new hairbrush home and began to brush her hair and to think about the kind man who had sold her the brush- the man with the eyes who could not see. She had a dream that night that she was walking across a street and a car came around the corner very fast when all of a sudden someone pushed her out of the way and saved her from being hit by the car. When she got up to thank the person who had saved her she saw him walking away, but then he turned around, looked at her and smiled. He had beautiful brown eyes that seemed to look into her heart and understood how she felt and how grateful she was that he had saved her life. He looked just like the kind man in the store.
That night Rachamim couldn’t sleep. How could I cheat such a beautiful person? I must find her and give her the money I owe her. The next day he decided to make signs and to put them up all over the neighborhood and on the front door of the store. The signs said: To the young woman who bought a brush in the Kol Bo store yesterday, your change is waiting for you. Please come to collect it.
One of Basya Chaya’s friends saw the sign and asked Basya Chaya where she had bought her new hairbrush, “Kol Bo”, she replied. “There was a very kind man there who helped me to find the brush and wrapped it up beautifully after I bought it, as if it were a gift, a present to myself”, she smiled. “Well look at this sign”, her friend said. “It says that there was a young woman in Kol Bo yesterday who bought a hairbrush and forgot to take her change. Could that have been you Basya Chaya?”
Then Basya Chaya remembered that in fact she had forgotten to get her change. She had been watching the young man wrap her hairbrush as if it was the most precious gift one could get or give.
After school she went back to the store. Rachamim was so happy to see Basya Chaya. We of course know that Rachamim does not see with his eyes, but he hears, with his ears, her voice, he smells the shampoo that she uses in her hair and of course he sees with his heart. Basya Chaya got her change from Rachamim and he asked her if she would like to have dinner with him that evening. Of course she said yes.
After that evening, Basya Chaya and Rachamim were together almost every day. One day, the owner of the store told Rachamim that he wanted to sell the store because it was getting too difficult for him to do the work; he was now an old man. He wanted to know if maybe Rachamim would want to buy the store from him. Rachamim had worked hard and saved up his money and told the owner of the store that if he could afford it he would very much like to buy his store.
On the day that Rachamim bought the store, he proposed to Basya Chaya. He asked her to marry him and she said yes. They loved each other very much. It was a beautiful wedding with family and good friends. Basya Chaya and Rachamim had a good life together. They had challenges and hard times like everyone, but they helped each other and supported each other and raised beautiful, honest, good and kind children who studied hard in school and even learned how to read in braille.
Remember- there are many ways to see in this world. Seeing with your eyes is a blessing but sometimes our eyes do not see what is really important and good. That is why it is a bigger blessing to be able to see with your heart, like Rachamim and like Basya Chaya.