Monday, April 14, 2008

Understanding the Question

Rav Yisroel Salanter, zt”l, would say, “Yene’s gashmiyus iz mein ruchniyus”—caring for another’s material need is my own spiritual concern.

One erev Pesach, a man came to ask a shailah of the Beis HaLevi, zt”l.

The petitioner asked humbly, “Could the Rav please tell me if it is permitted for me to use milk for the arba kosos at the seder?”

The Beis HaLevi answered straight away, “Absolutely not. However, I think that I might be able to help you in another way.” Reaching into a drawer, he pulled out a handsome sum of money and handed it to the man.

The Rav said kindly, “Please go out and buy the wine that you need for the seder.”

The man thanked the Rav effusively, excused himself, and rushed off to buy what he needed for the festival.

The Rebbetzin had overheard the exchange, and after the man left she asked pointedly, “I can understand that you gave him money for wine. But why did you give him such a huge sum? There was much more money there than he needed for just wine!”

The Beis HaLevi answered, “I didn’t need to be told outright that he needed more than just wine. If he was asking about using milk for the arba kosos, it meant that he hasn’t got meat either! And if he couldn’t afford meat, do you think that he could afford all the matzah that he’ll need for Pesach?”

3 comments:

Spiritual Dan said...

Beautiful. May we all merit to be vessels for the physical and spiritual needs of others.

Neil Harris said...

Indeed a powerful story, thanks!

Micha Golshevsky said...

Thank you so much for the comments.