The Kapota pledged as security for a debt

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Story of Motzoei Shabbos: When a cobbler ordered leather from a manufacturer and couldn’t pay, he offered his kapota as collateral. He was unable to repay his debt but was able to access his kapota through an uncommon show of kindness. Full story

By Rabbi Nissan Telushkin

Back in Russia, I met a Chossid who ran a leather goods store and often supplied shoemakers. They bought on credit and rarely paid it back on time. He was constantly in debt and his livelihood was paltry.

There was a cobbler who owed him a lot of money. Eventually, the store owner refused to provide him with leather.

One day the cobbler came begging for leather because someone had ordered a pair of shoes. The shoemaker desperately needed money to feed his family.

He offered his kapota, a Shabbat frock coat, as collateral for leather. The store owner took pity and provided the leather.

Yet the cobbler could not afford the leather and his kapota, indeed, was returned.

For months, the cobbler would pick up his kapota the day before Shabbat dress and return it to the store owner.

When summer came, the store owner worried that the dress would be damaged by moths. So during the week, about three times, he even shook it outside.

He kindly did this for months until he finally decided to ignore the debt and return the kapota even though it had not been paid.

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