Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Widow’s Comfort

A certain widow wished to show Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, her appreciation, but she was not certain how to go about this. After some thought she decided that whenever a new fruit was first introduced into the market she would buy him some to show how much she valued all of his help and emotional support.
Of course fruits first coming into season are exorbitantly expensive and the widow was receiving public funds. A certain student felt that it was not right for her to use the money to purchase something that he knew Rav Shlomo Zalman had no need or interest in. After all, when had he ever eaten a new fruit before it already was well in season and cheap? But when this person, who was very close to Rav Shlomo Zalman, asked what possible need was there for the widow to use money from tzedakah to purchase luxuriously expensive fruit, the rav got very upset with him.
“We are talking about a widow who has been broken by her bitter lot in life. The one thing which gives her pleasure in this world is to purchase expensive fruits for my use—and you wish to rob her even of this little enjoyment?”
On another occasion, a different widow came to him to ask what the best way was for her to give her deceased husband’s soul an aliyah in Gan Eden. His answer astonished her.
Rav Shlomo Zalman said, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you. Go out and buy your orphaned children toys that they will enjoy and make sure to find time to go out on trips with them. This is the best possible elevation you can make for your husband’s soul. Do your best to forget about your mourning and make your four children happy!”

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