The Jewish Eye
What Crosses Ones Mind In Times of Panic
One day, a fire began on the street where the home of the Chofetz Chaim was located. The fire was spreading quickly, and all the houses in its path were in danger of being burned down. All of the houses' residents began frantically gathering their most valuable possessions, and prepared to vacate their houses. The Chofetz Chaim, who was already an elderly man, sat in his chair amidst the turmoil, deep in thought. His family was puzzled by his behavior, but the Chofetz Chaim continued to sit and think with an anxious expression on his face, ignoring the tumult around him.
Fifteen minutes passed, and the Chofetz Chaim suddenly breathed a sigh of relief. He quickly arose from his chair, and walked toward the corner of his house, where a high shelf was situated. He stood on a chair to reach it, and took down a small watch. He then gathered his other possessions, and joined his family in vacating the house.
When his family questioned him, he clarified the reason for his mysterious behavior. "A yeshivah bochur had asked me to keep his watch in my house. Baruch Hashem, I found it; there's a specific mitzvah to guard anything given to one for safekeeping."
His family and students were astounded at his answer. During a time of crisis, when most people react with fear and panic, the Chofetz Chaim's first instinct was to save a yeshivah bochur's watch! (Stories My Grandfather Told Me)
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