The owner seeing how anxious they were, decided that he would be able make a large profit on the transaction and said, “very well, but the price will be 10,000 shekalim.”
Zemira gasped when she heard this outlandish figure. However, she never hesitated. Taking out her bag of gold she began counting out the money demanded.
Alas, when all the money was counted, they were 70 silver shekalim short. “What shall we do?” cried Zemira. “He is a hard-hearted man. He will not take a peruta less than the full price that he has set.”
There is only one answer,” declared Raamyah. “I will sell myself as a slave to raise the rest of the money.”
And so he did. For a year and three months he worked as a slave in order to raise the final amount of money needed to ransom Uzziel and his father. At the end of that time he gained his freedom and was free to return to his wife and child.
It was a tearful but happy Zemira who welcomed her husband back. On they went to Jerusalem where Raamyah was no longer recognized. There they found that Raamyah’s father had died and that the property which he possessed belonged to his son.
Raamyah sold the property and, taking all the money, went to Uzziel and his father and weeping before them cried, “I beg of you to take this money. I know that nothing that I do will ever suffice in compensating you for the great evil that I have caused to come upon you.
“Nevertheless, accept this money and try in your heart to forgive me.”
A New Life
Uzziel and his father were so touched by the sincerity of the poor man that they forgave him on the spot. Furthermore, knowing that he was giving them his last penny and would be destitute, they gave him 100 pieces of gold and said, “Take this money and buy yourself a field and house so that you may be able to build a new home for you and your family.”
And thus, a new life began for the couple. Raamyah and Zemira went to a nearby village and bought a small farm on the outskirts. There, Raamyah began to atone for his life of sin by doing charity and raising his son to be a Jew who walked in the path of Torah.
Thus our Sages explained the reason for one of the very few earthquakes to occur in Israel.