web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Q & A: The Sandak (Part XI)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Last week we heard from a woman who related that she and her husband raised her younger siblings after their parents died. After lovingly incurring half the expenses for her youngest brother’s wedding to a girl whose father has also passed away, she and her husband were delighted when the young couple told them they were expecting and asked her husband to be sandak. Yet, at the brit, her brother asked his wife’s family rabbi to serve as sandak. The rabbi had told them that since neither parent has a father, it was only proper for him to serve as sandak. The reader was mystified how the rabbi could have so easily disregarded the love and dedication she and her husband extended to her brother.

* * * * *

The reader last week who told of the slight her husband suffered at her nephew’s brit is not the only one who e-mailed us about a perceived insult at a brit. One person wrote that his son rescinded an invitation to serve as sandak at his grandson’s brit. The son said his rabbi maintained that it would improper for him to accept this honor since he had already served as sandak many years before at the brit of one of the infant’s older brothers. Though he accepted his son’s explanation, it is obvious that he remains bothered by the matter and has not received closure.

First, I would like to address all the readers who e-mailed us about their hurtful experiences: You must find it in your heart to forgive and move on. There are so many wrongs that we do against our Creator, but we don’t hesitate to beseech Him for forgiveness, which He readily offers every year during the Holy Days of Awe.

I am reminded of an address that I heard many years ago at a convention of Agudath Israel of America, where Rav Avraham Pam zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Torah Vodaath, was the keynote speaker. Rav Pam argued that we must be good with others and careful not to be too quick to judge. Look at II Samuel 11-12, he said. In rebuking King David for marrying Batsheva, wife of Uriah, the prophet Natan told David a story about two individuals, one exceedingly wealthy with vast flocks and the other destitute with but one small sheep to his name. The wealthy person did not wish to slaughter any of his own sheep to serve a guest, so he seized his neighbor’s sole sheep instead. No sooner had the prophet related this story that King David, in fury, blurted out: “ben mavet ha’ish ha’oseh zot – deserving of death is one who does such a thing.” Natan replied: “ata ha’ish – you are that man.”

Rav Pam explained that in his rush to judge another, King David pronounced his own judgment. From this, we can learn that even rabbis can make mistakes. My rosh yeshiva at Mir, the late Rav Avraham Kalmanowitz, zt”l, was known to address students embarking on their first foray outside the beit midrash to a new shteller – a new position – with the following: “Do you remember the four chelkei [sections of the] Shulchan Aruch?” After an affirmative answer, he would ask: “And what about the fifth chelek?” When asked what that was, Rav Kalmanowitz would reply: “how to deal with people.”

A rabbi, or anyone in a community position, has to take care never to do anything to anyone that can be construed as unseemly. For to do so may not only cause a chillul Hashem but may be hurtful to that individual or a family member. Indeed, the rabbi or community leader may quickly move on, but the slighted individual will remember the hurt and, in many cases, relive it for years to come.

We cited from Rabbi Enkin’s sefer that there are many who maintain that one may serve as sandak more than once for the same family. We further noted that since the mitzvah of milah is one of those mitzvot incumbent upon the father, the honor of sandika’ot (as well as any other mitzvah related to the brit) is totally within the province of the father to offer to anyone he pleases and no one should make that decision for him – no less usurp the mitzvah for himself.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: The Sandak (Part XI)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Car hitting people
Real-time Video of Car Running Over Jerusalem Light Rail Passengers
Latest Judaism Stories
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

Noah and his Family; mixed media collage by Nathan Hilu. Courtesy Hebrew Union College Museum

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-sandak-part-xi/2013/01/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: