Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Only the Truth

Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, shlit”a, one discussed how exceedingly careful Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, zt”l, was to always tell the truth. “On Rav Yaakov’s final visit to Eretz Yisrael, his students asked him in what merit he had lived such a long life. He answered, ‘I never allowed a false word to pass my lips.’
“His students explained that by saying the word ‘never’ the rav meant even when he was halachically allowed to lie. For example, when Rav Yaakov was a bochur many young men would use a friend’s dispensation to avoid the draft. This ruse worked very often and saved many, but when this trick was suggested to Rav Yaakov he refused to consider it even though being drafted was literally a question of pikuach nefesh. Rav Yaakov got out of the draft another way, since ‘Hashem has many messengers.’
“Once, his students noticed him going into a silver shop with a beautiful silver cup. When asked why, he explained: ‘I have always been scrupulous to put every bit of revenue on my tax forms so as to pay taxes on everything, thereby fulfilling the halachah, ‘dina d’malchusah dina.’ Now that I am eighty the administrators of the yeshiva decided to give me this cup as a gift. According to my understanding, I must also list this cup on my form. I came in here to find out exactly what the cup is worth.’
Rav Zilberstein concluded, “In this manner a person gains many students even outside the beis midrash, since everyone who hears these stories of Rav Yaakov’s unbending honesty is inspired to be like him!”

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