Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“What Will I Eat Tomorrow?”

It is hard for us in our comparatively wealthy society to imagine the destitution of Warsaw between the two World Wars. A debilitating shortage of food and the most basic amenities of life is something which virtually no one needs to deal with today outside of the third world. In Warsaw, people literally starved. A person who could afford to bring home enough bread for his family was considered very fortunate indeed. Understandably, most people would eat only the minimum of any food purchased so as to make their meager stores last as long as possible. Virtually no one knew where their next crust of bread would come from, literally.
Interestingly, the Brisker Rav, zt”l, would eat his fill and wouldn’t limit himself to save food from one day to the next. He constantly worked on bitachon and felt that leaving over was not appropriate for him. After all, in Sotah 48 Rabi Eliezer Hagadol proclaims that anyone who has bread in their basket yet asks, “What will we eat tomorrow?” has little faith.
In sharp contradistinction to the Brisker Rav completely eating his fill, his son, Rav Yosef Dov, zt”l, ate virtually nothing. The Brisker Rav could not chew the hard crusts of the breads. His son would eat only those and nothing else.
The Brisker Rav scolded him. “The only reason why we don’t have enough food for you too, is because you insist on eating only the crusts and not your full share of the bread. If you ate as much bread as you need, we would have enough for both of us.”
Rav Yosef Dov continued his practice of only eating the crusts however. Years later he explained, “I didn’t want to be a ba’al bitachon on my father’s cheshbon!”


yitz.. said...

i have a lot of difficulty with the rationale of the punch line.

if you are really a baal bitachon, it's on HaShem's cheshbon...

isn't that the whole point?

if there is a cheshbon involved, why was his father not, not being a 'baal bitachon' on the chesbon of the other people less fortunate than himself?

how is he making a point that isn't challenging his father's point? as I assume he must be, out of kibud av.

Micha said...

Thank you for the great question; I thought it was important enough to post.