Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Meshulach

A meshulach once arrived in Brisk and went from house to house collecting money for tzedakah. When he reached the home of the illustrious Rav Chayim Soleveitchik, zt”l, however, he was turned aside without a penny. The town wondered what the fellow had done to deserve such mistreatment, but no one had the nerve to ask the gaon about his behavior. Some time later, it became known to all that the meshulach was actually a missionary in disguise, and all those who had contributed to his cause had inadvertently supported sinful activities.

Members of the community approach Rav Chayim zt”l with a complaint: “Now we see that the gaon had ruach hakodesh—but why weren’t we told before? Why were we allowed to give to his cause?”

Rav Chayim zt”l laughed. “You accuse me of something that I don’t have! I didn’t know anything about him at all. All I knew was that when he came to my door, I immediately wanted to give him money. There was no internal resistance at all. Right away I understood that it is impossible that there is any mitzvah involved—if there had been, my yetzer harah would have put up a fight…”

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