Wednesday, February 10, 2010

“I Hated and Abhor Falsehood...”

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, was exceedingly careful that his every word or action should never appear false in even the slightest degree. Many times a day, he was heard to repeat to himself the verse from Tehillim: "שקר שנאתי ואתעבה"—“I hated and abhor falsehood.” We can see to what degree Rav Shlomo Zalman fled from untruth from a conversation that he had with a student. The student asked him a question which the Rav did not comprehend, and the Rav used the usual Hebrew equivalent of “I’m sorry” which is, "אני מצטער"—“I am pained.” Rav Shlomo Zalman at first said, “אני מצטער that I did not understand what you are asking.” But then he immediately corrected himself. “סליחה, excuse me. I am not truly pained, but nevertheless I did not understand your question...”
Chazal tell us that eating olives causes one to forget his learning, but since they also say that olive oil is conducive to remembering, the prevalent custom is to put oil on the olives and eat them that way. When Rav Shlomo Zalman saw in one of Rav Chaim Kanievksy’s many seforim that olive oil does not mitigate the ill effects of olives on memory, he stopped eating olives.
However, when he was close to the end of his life and Rav Shlomo Zalman had a difficult time eating most foods, he decided to go back to eating olives with olive oil since they were one of the few foods that still agreed with him. Rav Shlomo Zalman immediately sent a message to Rav Kanievsky, ילט"א, informing him of this change. The moment Rav Shlomo Zalman stopped acting in accordance with this chumrah, it was abhorrent to him that Rav Chaim Kanievsky should believe that he still did.

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