Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Absolute Honesty

Rav Shalom Shwardron, zt”l, was known around the world for his absolute integrity. When he was first starting out as a maggid, he developed a very scathing but hilarious routine making fun of the methods employed by the Zionist establishment to entice religious Jews away from Torah observance. Even though the speech definitely drove his point home, it was also received with an unusual amount of laughter at his mockery of the “progressives” who had distanced themselves and others from Torah.
After one such shmuess, someone pointed out to the young maggid that the lecture smacked of leitzanus to him. Rav Shalom was very dismayed and decided then and there to consult with the Chazon Ish, zt”l, regarding this question.
The Chazon Ish, zt”l, pointed out that he could hardly tell if the speech was problematic without hearing what he said. Rav Shalom gave over his entire routine and the Chazon Ish gave his hearty approval. “That’s not forbidden leitzonus—that’s exactly how one should speak about the subject!”
Because he was so honest in everything, Rav Raphael Meyerson was shocked when Rav Shalom asked a ridiculous price for a sefer he was selling.
It was on one of Rav Shalom’s many trips to London. As usual, Rav Shalom sold the most recent volumes of the Maharsham that he himself had annotated and reprinted. But the price was truly exorbitant. Nevertheless, Rav Meyerson decided that he would just have to trust Rav Shalom. If that was what he asked, it was clearly necessary money and would go to a worthy cause.
A few days later, Rav Raphael received a letter from Rav Shalom with a huge refund enclosed. “I had such pain when I realized how much you paid me that I could not sleep without righting the matter. I am used to Israeli currency and did not understand the huge difference between our lirot and the true British lira, which I now know to be pounds sterling. Please forgive me for mistakenly overcharging you. I hope you will understand my error and accept my apology.”

1 comment:

Neil Harris said...

What a great story, thanks.