Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Rise to Greatness

“One time Rav Chaim, the av beis din of Linitz and the author of Divrei Mishpat, zt”l, ascended the bimah and announced that he was resigning his position as av beis din of their community. When the surprised congregation asked what had caused him to take such a drastic step, he refused to explain. All he would say is that he was no longer interested in being their rav.
The prominent people in the town immediately began to plead with him to reconsider his decision, and after quite a bit of arguing he agreed to be reinstated as their rav and av beis din. At that moment, they again asked him why he had decided to resign from his position in the first place. His reply was quite a shock to them.
“Our sages teach that one does not ascend to greatness until his sins are first forgiven. By abdicating and being reinstated, all my sins were again forgiven. Wasn’t this worthwhile?”
But why should attaining a position afford atonement to sins? When someone presented this question to the Noam Megadim, zt”l, he explained: “In Eiruvin 13 we find that Hashem uplifts those who humble themselves. It follows that one who was appointed to a holy position must have humbled himself. Since in Sotah 8 our sages teach that one who is humble is considered to have brought all the sacrifices it follows that his sins are also forgiven!”