Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Righteous Jewish Women

Women often show more fear of heaven than men as the following story illustrates.

Years ago, a “progressive” religious movement made great inroads into Lithuania. When it came to Brisk, it had a profound influence on the community and people began to feel that the time had come to make changes in the time-honored traditions of the town. Since such “innocent” changes had often led to breaches in the observance of halachah in other towns, the Brisker Rav, zt”l, saw the institution of any change as a threat to the religious integrity of the whole community. He therefore vehemently opposed the idea of a choir for the high holidays despite the fact that the parnassim of Brisk were very much in favor.

Well aware of the Brisker Rav’s opposition, the parnassim decided to circumvent him. They chose singers, planned at which points in the prayers the choir would sing, and even set up a platform. They planned to introduce the choir right in the middle of the Rosh Hashanah service without asking leave of the Rav. On the festival, when the parnassim signaled the group to take their places, the Brisker Rav immediately ordered them back to their seats. The group obliged, but as they turned to sit, the parnassim ordered them back on the platform.

As they ascended, the Rav again ordered them to their seats. The parnassim disregarded the Rav and again ordered the choir to take their places. After another few moments of this, the Rav finally turned to the women’s section for help.

He exclaimed, “Jewish daughters! These people are trying to destroy the Torah and you remain silent?”

The wives of the parnassim responded to his call, publicly derided their husbands for their behavior, and the parnassim gave up!

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