Yet one, a butcher, did not become a heroic paragon of greatness like the others, but he did depart from This World "with a good name among the God-fearing Jews of America."
This is very good, but not on the same level as the former Shabbat-transgressor who reached such a high level that Rebbe Nosson said they will boast of him before the Kisei HaKavod (the Heavenly Throne of Glory). Nor is it the level of the former hitman who not only made complete teshuvah, but also risked his life to provide a mikveh for the Jewish community, in addition to generously fulfilling the needs of the poor from his own pocket.
Certainly, departing This World with a good name among God-fearing Jews is wonderful, but still not on the same level as Rav Bender himself, who was a lofty tzaddik.
One can depart with a good name without being an actual tzaddik.
Yet Rav Bender speaks of this butcher with such admiration.
Striving to be a Man When There are No Longer Any "Men"
(Please see Seeing Ourselves through Hashem's Eyes by Using a Measuring Scale of 0-10.)
This butcher was a total low-life. He used to waste time in the Breslov shul & hog the heater in the winter, and speak in such a vulgar manner that people like Rav Bender could not allow themselves to stand near the heater for fear of hearing things "that a delicate person could not bear to hear."
Rav Bender and other special Breslovers lived in extreme poverty and toiveled in a roofless mikveh full of ice in the freezing Ukrainian winters.
Believe me, these tzaddikim NEEDED the heater in the shul.
Yet they couldn't revive themselves by the heater due to this vulgar boor.
And how distressing for such holy people to be forced to be around such ugly behavior. It also goes against everything a shul is for.
Some congregants wished to forcibly remove this vulgar boor.
But the rav of the shul, Rav Avraham (ben Rav Nachman) Chazan, pleaded with his well-meaning congregants:
"He came to us — do not disturb him... In spite of everything, he feels obliged to come to us. Don't do anything to harm him..."
[Vol II, pg 308]
Upon seeing the style of prayer and behavior of the shepherd-less chassidim in America and how it paled in comparison to what he'd experienced in the Breslover shul in Uman, the low-life butcher felt compelled to make a change.
No longer able to drift along by the coattails of real tzaddikim, this butcher strove to be an ish in a place where there was no ish, like it says in Pirkei Avot 2:5 "In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man."
Where was the starting point of this low-life boor?
How was he raised?
The book doesn't say.
Did he even know how to read? And if he could read, did he possess the ability to learn Mishneh? Chumash with Rashi?
The book doesn't say.
Whatever the butcher's skills were, he felt he needed to guide his new community in America based on the example he saw in the Breslov shul in Uman.
It doesn't say he learned Torah or mussar; it just implies that he led by example—based on the example he witnessed in Uman.
Ultimately, we see he possessed at least some internal keilim (he was able to identify the weaknesses in the American chassidic community and feel bothered by the weaknesses enough to compel change, both in himself and others)—internal keilim which weren't realized until he arrived at a weaker community.
As far as external keilim go, it's not clear, but it looks like he didn't receive such a great upbringing, although it seems that it was at least somewhat religious, even if only externally.
His greatest external keilim was his exposure to real tzaddikim like Rav Bender and Rav Avraham (ben Rav Nachman) Chazan, among others.
So where would we say this butcher started out an a scale of 1-10?
It's hard to say exactly, but something like the above.
And where is "departing with a good name among God-fearing Jews in America"?
Is that average—like a 5?
After all, many of us will likely depart with a good name among God-fearing Jews in our community (may we all live in good health until 120). That's the average expectation, right?
Or is it more than average? Like a 6 or even a 7?
If being boasted of before the Kisei HaKavod or risking one's life to build & provide a mikveh & providing for the poor, or being a real tzaddik & talmid chacham is a 10, then departing with a good name among God-fearing Jews in America isn't near 10.
So it's hard to say for sure. Yet whether the butcher was a zero or a 2 who made it to a 5 or 6, Rav Bender spoke highly of him.
Rav Bender obviously considered the man spiritually accomplished even if he never came close to achieving the astounding accomplishments of the others, or even the achievements of Rav Bender himself.
Let's end with the words of Rav Bender at the conclusion of the above story on page 308 in Volume II of Words of Faith: