In the Little Shtetl of Vaysechvoos: The Butcher
Shimmon Shlomovitz was the finest butcher ever to live in the little shtetl of Vaysechvoos. He took great care to have his shop supplied with the finest meats and poultry. He was fair in his prices, and the scale he used to weigh the purchases, well, if it wasn’t accurate, it was at least a little bit in the patron’s favor. Yet Shimmon Shlomovitz was very prosperous, for what he sacrificed by way of profit he more than compensated for in the volume of business he did, by virtue of the fact that most people in Vaysechvoos traded with him. He was accorded many great honors in the synagogue, and all his daughters married well and his sons became scholars. Why, even people from neighboring villages would buy their meat in Vaysechvoos. That is, until a great innovation came called hock fleysh.
The butcher purchased a grinder which was shipped all the way from Kiev to prepare hock fleysh. Kosher meat was put into the grinder, and two of his sons turned the handle of the mill which served to extrude the meat all minced, even before it was cooked. Shimmon felt that hock fleysh would be a blessing to all in the village but especially to those who were older, whose teeth were not very good.
Some Cossacks, stationed near Vaysechvoos, decided to play a prank on the butcher. They took a large quantity of opium from the medical dispensary of their detachment. They snuck into the shop and mixed the white powder with the salt that was used to kosher the meat. Because everyone in the village trusted the butcher, virtually all of his patrons bought the readily prepared hock fleysh, which they formed into balls and used as dumplings in their Thursday night soup. Well, need I tell you, the hock fleysh was a success. Everybody got more for their noon meal on Friday and then again for their Friday evening Shabbat dinner.
Meanwhile, none of the people of Vaysechvoos were working at their jobs, or doing the tasks that needed to be done. Instead, everyone was in a state of euphoria. No one came to synagogue to worship, not even the rabbi. This went on for almost a week. It just so happened that the sage of Vaysechvoos, who was on a journey at that time and had not yet tasted the hock fleysh, returned to his village, and seeing the state of affairs, he issued a decree. In it the sage said that hock fleysh caused the people to sin; there fore, it was to be banned from Vaysechvoos. And to this day, you will not see hock fleysh sold in that shtetl.
Director of Communications, Missionary
Susan Perlman is one of the co-founders of Jews for Jesus. Susan is the associate executive director of Jews for Jesus and also director of communications for the organization. She also serves as the editor in chief of ISSUES, their evangelistic publication for Jewish seekers. She left a career track in New York City to help launch Jews for Jesus in San Francisco in the early 1970s. See more here.