Friday, August 22, 2008

You Must Really Make an Effort!

{When I first saw this story I was reminded of this post:
Rav Shach, zt”l, said, “When one person asks another for help, often the person being asked says that he will ‘try.’ This expression is said automatically in an offhand manner and is not seen as assuming an obligation at all. Often people believe that making no more than the slightest effort on his friend’s behalf is sufficient. They think that agreeing to make an effort means any kind of effort or no effort, but this is incorrect…”
Rav Shach would use the following story to illustrate why:
A young man once approached Rav Eliyahu Kamai, zt”l, the Mirrrer Rosh Yeshivah and requested financial aid for a worthy cause.
“I cannot give you the entire sum that you need,” Rav Kamai replied. “I will give you…” and he named a generous sum.
The bochur was not satisfied, though. “Please give the full sum. If you cannot, at least agree to try to procure the remainder from another source.”
Rav Kamai completely refused this request.
The bouchur was confused. “But all I ask is that you try. Why refuse such a small request?”
Rav Kamai replied, “Do you know the meaning of saying ‘I will try?’ In Gittin 30 we find the case of one who gave his wife a conditional divorce which will only take effect if the condition is fulfilled, and said, ‘This divorce will take effect if I do not appease you within thirty days.’ Rav Yosef explains that even if he tried to appease her but she was not amenable, the divorce takes effect. Surely, if he had given her a chest full of coins or made other great efforts, she would have been appeased! We see that Chazal understood ‘making an effort’ to mean something very different than what most people intend today. Today, people believe that this is just an expression without true meaning, but this is inaccurate. In light of this, how can you ask me to make an effort? Who can say he has fulfilled his obligation to ‘try’?”
Hashem should help us mean what we way and say what we mean.

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