web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Kidz
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.



Too Long Without A Rav


Tales of the Gaonim-logo

The Gaon Yosef Ber Solovetichik, while chief rabbi of Slutsk, was in poor financial straits. It was a poor community, and there was very little money for the rabbi. Once, a delegation from Mohlev arrived to offer the gaon the position of chief rabbi of Mohlev, which was a larger and wealthier town. The gaon, however, refused the offer.

“Do you consider the town of Mohlev inferior or is it below your dignity to become a rav there?” the surprised delegation asked.

“On the contrary,” replied the gaon. “Mohlev is a greater town than Slutsk, and it would indeed be an honor to occupy the chair which the Gaon, Malbim had occupied in your town for many years. But, unfortunately, it has been many years since he is gone, and no rav has occupied the seat since.

This is similar to a widow who has not remarried for many years. After a while she gets used to living alone and she will not respect or care for another man. Mohlev has been so long without a rav that they would not know how to honor and respect a new one.”

Helping Others

When the first wife of the Gaon Reb Yosef Ber died, he took another wife who had eight children from her first husband. The gaon found it very difficult to support so large a family, but he suffered in silence, never complaining.

Once, one of his relatives asked him why he had married a woman with so large family.

He answered, “I have fulfilled the mitzvah of freeing an agunah, a deserted woman.”

“Freeing an agunah?” asked the astonished relative. “She is no agunah. Her husband died and what has that to do with you? Why did you have to marry her?”

“She wasn’t an agunah in the true sense,” replied the gaon. But if I hadn’t married her she would have felt deserted, for who would have taken a woman with eight children?”

The Charity Collector Gives Charity

Once, a charity collector for one of the yeshivos, known as a meshulach, came to the Reb Yosef Ber on an Erev Shabbos. As it was nearing evening, the gaon invited him to spend the Shabbos with him.

“Before you change your clothes for Shabbos, will you please loan me five pennies?” Reb Yosef Ber asked the meshulach.

The guest didn’t hesitate a minute. He took out five pennies and gave them to the gaon. Saturday night, after Havdalah, the gaon took out the same five pennies and returned them to his guest.

The yeshiva collector was astonished at the gaon’s behavior. “If the master will excuse my impudence, I would like to ask him a question,” said the meshulach.

“You may ask,” replied the gaon.

“Why did you borrow five pennies from me Erev Shabbos, and now after Shabbos return the exact pennies?” the meshulach inquired.

“It’s simple,” replied the gaon. “You are always traveling around the country, from town to town and from city to city, always borrowing, begging and pleading for money for the yeshiva. You are constantly urging people to give charity, and you are instrumental in providing them with great mitzvos. But you, however, never have the opportunity of gemilas chesed, helping others by loans or charity. Therefore, I wanted you to also have the mitzvah of gemilas chesed, of loaning me money which you so kindly did Erev Shabbos.”

His Occupation

Once a young man entered his study. He was a former disciple of his, having studied under him when he was the Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin.

Reb Yosef Ber welcomed the pupil with open arms and invited him to have dinner with him. After a while the gaon turned to his former pupil and asked him, “What are you doing now?”

“Thank G-d,” replied the erstwhile student, “I have become a merchant and am very successful. I have made a lot of money during the past few years.”

The gaon listened attentively and he asked him, “What are you now doing?”

The student stopped talking momentarily and he thought that perhaps the gaon did not hear his reply. He again repeated, “Thank G-d, I have become a very successful merchant and I have made a lot of money.”

Instead of acknowledging what he had heard, the gaon again repeated. “But what are you now doing?”

“I trust my rav and master will forgive me, but this is the third time you have asked me the same question and I have repeated the same answer,” said the student in wonder.

“It is true, you have answered me the same thing three times,” sighed the gaon. “But that is not the answer I wanted to hear. You have nothing to brag about regarding money for it all belongs to G-d. G-d gives you life, health, money, riches and all wealth. It is not of our doing. But what are you doing?

“Are you doing good deeds? Do you give a lot of charity? Do you help the poor? Do you devote time every day to the study of the Torah?

“These are the things which you are required to do. Therefore, I ask you, what are you doing? Not what G-d has done for you.”

About the Author:


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 “Too Long Without A Rav”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Kidz Stories
Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

He lacked for nothing materialistic and could have lived the rest of his life, had he chosen to, in the luxury and laziness that dominated the Roman upper class life.

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

When the soldiers heard this they exclaimed happily: “You mean this is the sacred Jewish fruit? Hurry, get on the horse. You are coming with us to the palace.”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Now let me ask you, what would happen to an infantryman if he deserted his regiment and went to serve in the cavalry? He would be court-martialed, wouldn’t he?”

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

Dug out beneath his bunk was a little chest which he guarded with his very life. It contained a small Sefer Torah, miniature size, but kosher, and a shofar.

So began a marvelous period of good fortune. He invested the twenty-four gold pieces in many types of businesses and everything his hand touched turned to gold.

Pressing close to the cage, the Ibn Ezra shouted the words, “Shema Yisrael…”

“You can have your choice,” said the wise king. “You can choose to take this gold, 100 pieces each, or I can give you each three pieces of advice.”

“It isn’t the work,” said Eliezer. “I want to learn our holy Torah.”

He followed her advice and, before departing, the rabbanim offered him a bracha. “Aba Yudin, may the Lord return your wealth, for all the kind deeds you do.”

In their perverted justice they also declared the following law: Anyone who was injured by another so that blood flowed from his wound, was compelled to pay his attacker since he bled him!

“When I asked why she cried so much she said she came from a very religious home and feared she would be sold to a non-Jew and forced to convert.

Know that from. the day I began to recite the holy name of God, I have always loved Shabbos

And so the enemy burst into the Sanctuary and set up a stand on the Temple Mount.

By means of a clever pretext, they succeeded in getting Rabi Yitzhak aboard a ship and sailed it down the river.

When the young man awoke, he did not know where he was. As he looked around, the princess looked out and saw him.

One winter morning a terrible blizzard raged, the weather dropped to below zero, and the woman became desperately ill.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

He lacked for nothing materialistic and could have lived the rest of his life, had he chosen to, in the luxury and laziness that dominated the Roman upper class life.

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

When the soldiers heard this they exclaimed happily: “You mean this is the sacred Jewish fruit? Hurry, get on the horse. You are coming with us to the palace.”

Now let me ask you, what would happen to an infantryman if he deserted his regiment and went to serve in the cavalry? He would be court-martialed, wouldn’t he?”

Dug out beneath his bunk was a little chest which he guarded with his very life. It contained a small Sefer Torah, miniature size, but kosher, and a shofar.

So began a marvelous period of good fortune. He invested the twenty-four gold pieces in many types of businesses and everything his hand touched turned to gold.

Pressing close to the cage, the Ibn Ezra shouted the words, “Shema Yisrael…”

“You can have your choice,” said the wise king. “You can choose to take this gold, 100 pieces each, or I can give you each three pieces of advice.”

“It isn’t the work,” said Eliezer. “I want to learn our holy Torah.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/too-long-without-a-rav/2013/04/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: