Monday, July 12, 2010

A Difficult Psak

Around the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, a boy of about fourteen lived on a moshav. When he noticed that his mother would slaughter chickens using a straight razor, he became despondent since he realized that his parents had been feeding him non-kosher food all along. Shabbos observance was also very weak, so the boy decided to leave home. He ultimately made his way to Yeshivas Chevron in Jerusalem.
One day, he received a letter from home. While plowing, his father had broken his back and was bedridden, and he wanted him to return home to care for him. The young men who had been involved with this boy wondered what was to be done. When Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, zt”l, heard their question, he said, “Ask the Chazon Ish!”
Rav Moshe Shtigal recalled, “I took the young boy with me and we traveled to Bnei Brak. I left the boy learning in the beis medrash in the home of the Chazon Ish, and I went alone into the room to speak to the gaon. I explained the whole story, and he said, ‘You didn’t have anyone in Jerusalem to ask—you had to come to me?’ I answered that I had already been to Rav Chatzkel, zt”l, and he sent me here. And then I could see the gravity of his expression.
“The Chazon Ish said: ‘This means that the son should abandon his sick father and not go, and that I should be the one to tell him so! How can I say such a thing?’ And his psak was that the boy should go home instead to care for his ailing father. I had the nerve to ask, ‘But they don’t eat kosher food there, and the Shabbos observance is not the best…?’ And he answered, ‘He should try his best to eat kosher.’ Then he asked, ‘Is the boy here?’ I answered that he was. The boy was brought in, and the Chazon Ish said to him in Hebrew: ‘Go home, and try to live a city life there, not the life of the moshav which is called death!’
“He couldn’t tell the boy not to go home, but he told the boy to do his utmost to solve the halachic problems he would face there.”

No comments: