The avreich
The avreichKupat Ha'ir

This avreich's story nearly had the worst possible ending. Mob-hired thugs had already waited for him under his building, threatening to forcibly remove his kidney to sell to pay back his debt. In the last few days, tzedakah activists with experience in the field succeeded in reaching an agreement with the creditors- the extremely aggressive payment collection methods were immediately stopped, and the debt was divided into a number of payments.

Everything began when he was a yeshivah bachur, orphaned from his mother, having been raised in a challenged home. Some friend convinced him to open a bank account that a businessman would deposit money into and withdraw from once a month. In return, the yeshivah bachur would receive pocket money- about 70 shekels a month.

The innocent bachur had no idea that this was a dangerous situation, and agreed to the arrangement. Indeed, for a while the arrangement worked smoothly, and the businessman even left 'pocket money' in the account that was double and triple the original agreed-upon amount.

One day the businessman arrived and said that he needed an urgent loan of 80,000 shekels from the bank, and promised to pay the innocent bachur 8000 shekels for being the middleman.

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The bachur went to the bank and signed the necessary documents to obtain the bank loan of 80,000 shekels. He never dreamed that he was walking into a trap, a halachic (with the ribbis) as well as a financial one.

That was the last time he saw the 'generous' businessman, who disappeared with the money.

Only two weeks later the bachur got engaged, and couldn't muster up the courage to inform his kallah and in-laws about this problem he got embroiled in just before the engagement.

As time went on, the debt grew, and was transferred to a debt collection agency. The avreich took additional loans in order to cover the previous one, until after a number of years he was enticed to take out an 'instant loan' from a 'private credit card company', having no idea that this would involve him with the 'gray market.'

The loan very quickly accumulated inflated interest, and the young avreich didn't manage to pay it. This set an extremely aggressive debt collection process in motion; powered by a crime organization that lends money, hired thugs were sent to his home to threaten him.

One morning two thugs were waiting for him outside his apartment. They took him into their car and said that they were going for a 'ride in the orchard.' They explained that since he wasn't paying his debt, they'd found an original way to cover at least part of it- through the sale of his kidney. In the 'orchard' there was an operating room to remove his kidney, and afterwards they would take him home. "It's a matter of a few hours and will take 50,000 shekels from your debt," they explained gravely, and added that afterwards they'd weigh the option of removing the second kidney, in order to pay off the entire debt…

The avreich, realizing he was in mortal danger, pleaded for his life. As he left the car his legs were trembling, his face white as a sheet from his near-fatal encounter. A friend spotted him and was aghast. Only then, for the first time, the avreich shared with someone all that had happened to him in the last years.

His friend turned to community activists known to have experience in the field, and these rushed to make an appointment with the heads of the crime organization. They agreed upon an immediate cessation of the extremely aggressive debt collection attempts, and the organization agreed to cut the majority of interest demanded for the loan, and to split the rest of the payment into a number of installments.

"He needs to work very hard to amass donations in such enormous amounts," explain the activists involved, "but this is what will save his life. There's no other option. We have to give them what they want, or they'll take from him a lot more than one kidney…"

On the instructions of the Rabbanim, a fund was set up to assist this avreich, and the public is requested to take part in this mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim, rescuing captives, and also saving lives, in order to rescue him from this great danger hanging over his head.

Click here to help the avreich whose life is being threatened