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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘continued’

The Answer (Continued From Last Week)

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Reb Daniel Yaffee, the wealthiest man in Berlin, made a foolish bargain in his youth, whereby he promised to give his friend, David, all the money he would ever make in the future over 10,000 marks. Then David gave him a penknife as a token. His friend, a pauper, has now returned after many years to seek money for his daughter’s wedding and Reb Daniel remembers the bargain. He rushes to the great Rav Tzvi Hirsch Levin to seek some solution.


The Answer

Reb Daniel finished telling his story to Rav Tzvi Hirsch who looked at the shaken man who stood before him, and said: “Reb Daniel, the Almighty knows how hard you worked for your money and how honestly you obtained it. What you worked for remains yours and your friend David has no claim on it.”

Reb Daniel looked at the rav of Berlin and exclaimed in surprise: “What do you mean? It is true that David has not asked me for the money, but I am obligated to keep my word that I gave in a business deal.”


Future Transaction

Rav Tzvi Hirsch explained, “I tell you that, according to law, you are not obligated to give anything. There is a clear law in the Talmud that states that a man cannot sell a future interest in a thing that has not yet come into being. And even the minority that holds it is possible to do so, say that it is possible only when the object has a definite chance of coming into existence, such as selling the future crop from a tree.

“In your case, however, and in any far-fetched future transaction, the law holds that the buying party never took the bargain seriously or considered it a real transaction.

“David obviously never considered your becoming wealthy as being possible, and when he gave you the penknife, he did it as a friend and it remained only a present.

“If you want to, you can certainly give David as much money as you wish, but legally you owe him nothing.”

Reb Daniel Happy

When Reb Daniel heard these words, it was as if a stone was lifted from his heart. The sun seemed to shine brighter as he left the rav. He emptied his pockets of all his money as he rode home, giving it to the numerous poor people who stopped him along the way.

Running into his house, he told the good news to his wife and then sat down to say Tehillim in praise to the Almighty.

Then he hurried to his store and took 1,000 ducats from the safe. It was a very great sum, far in excess of the money that David had needed for his daughter’s wedding.


David Arrives

As Reb Daniel was seated at his afternoon meal, his friend David returned.

“Welcome, David, sit down and join me at my meal.”

“Thank you, Daniel. I am very happy that you feel better. Your color has returned to your face.”

“It was nothing, really,” said Reb Daniel. “Listen David, I have been thinking about what you asked me and I have decided not to give you 1,000 marks for your daughter’s wedding.”

David’s face fell as he heard these words, and he said, “Is there anyone else to whom I can turn for the money I so desperately need?”

Reb Daniel smiled. “You didn’t let me finish, David. I have decided to give you not 1,000 marks, but 1,000 ducats. From it, use 1,000 marks for your daughter’s dowry, 500 for wedding expenses, and the rest for a business to support yourself in your old age.”

Rabbi Sholom Klass

An Expensive Agreement (Continued from last week)

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Reb Daniel Yaffe, the wealthiest Jew in Berlin, had made a foolish bargain with his friend David when both were poor, whereby he promised to give the latter all the fortune he would make above 10,000 marks. Now, many years later, his impoverished friend has shown up seeking 1,000 marks for his daughter’s wedding. Daniel remembers the bargain and feels duty-bound to give up his fortune, but visits Rav Tzvi Hirsch Levin to see if he might have some answer for his predicament.


What Is Wrong?

“Reb Daniel? What is wrong? What has happened that causes you to weep?” asked Rav Tzvi Hirsch.

“Rebbe,” cried Reb Daniel, “I believe I have lost virtually my entire fortune and will be forced to become a beggar who goes from door to door seeking charity.”

Rav Tzvi Hirsch looked at the weeping man and answered in a soft voice: “Let us assume that what you say is true. Is that any reason for you to behave as though the world has come to an end? Listen to a brief story that I will tell you and perhaps you will feel better.

“Rav Shmuel HaNagid was one of Spain’s greatest scholars. He spent his days learning Torah and lived a simple life in poverty. He became beloved and famous throughout the Jewish community and even among the non-Jews.

“His name came to the attention of the king, who was so deeply impressed by him that he decided to appoint him as his finance minister. Rav Shmuel was very conscientious and successful and the king’s fortunes rose mightily. The other ministers became bitterly jealous of the Jewish scholar who was so obviously in the court’s favor and they decided to spread libels about the Jews.

“Going to the king, they said: ‘Your Majesty, we are convinced that Rav Shmuel has been using the office of the finance minister to line his pockets with money. He has been stealing from the royal treasury and robbing you.’”

Asks For Accounting

“The king refused to believe what he considered to be sheer nonsense. But the jealous ministers persisted in their fierce accusations and finally, to put the lies to rest, the king decided to have an accounting.

“Calling Rav Shmuel before him, he said: ‘Rav Shmuel, you are undoubtedly aware of the campaign that some of my ministers have launched against you. I know that the accusations are not true but I want to prove this to everyone’s satisfaction once and for all.

“‘I would like you to go home and give me an accounting of all your assets from the time that you became my finance minister.’”


King Is Amazed

“Rav Shmuel went home and appeared the following day before the king with his accounting. The king took it in his hands and studied it. As he read on, his face grew red with anger. Rav Shmuel had listed as his assets not more than 10 percent of the amount that the king himself estimated he had amassed.

“‘How dare you show me such a list?’ the king cried in fierce anger. ‘I myself gave you as personal gifts much more than you have listed here. There is no doubt in my mind that my ministers were correct and that you have stolen things from the treasury.’

“‘Allow me to explain,’ Rav Shmuel said. ‘You asked me to draw up a list of my assets, all the things that are mine, in his world.

“‘What you have given me is not really mine. At any moment you can grow angry with me and take it back. How can I list it then as my own?

Rabbi Sholom Klass

An Expensive Agreement (Continued from last week)

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Recap: Reb Daniel Yaffe, the wealthiest Jew in Berlin, had made a bargain with his old friend, David to give the latter all the money he would make over 10,000 marks in return for a penknife. As the years passed, he forgot about it. Now David, an impoverished man, has suddenly shown up after many years to borrow money for his daughter’s wedding.


An Expensive Agreement

“David, is it really you?” asked Daniel in amazement.

“I haven’t seen you in ages. Come in, come in and have breakfast with me.”

The two old friends sat and eagerly exchanged stories about all that had happened to them since they last saw each other. Daniel told the story of his meteoric rise to affluence and greatness while David, with a bitter sigh, told of his struggles to make a living and the tragedy of the death of his children through sickness.

“Now, I have an opportunity to marry off my only remaining child, a beautiful girl named Sarah, but I must have 1,000 marks. Do you think you can help me, Daniel!”

“What kind of question is that?” asked Daniel. “Of course, I can. Do you imagine that I would allow you to struggle when I can help my old best friend?”


The Reminder

“I knew I could count on you,” exclaimed David in joy. “You were always a good friend and from the earliest days you were so positive that you would be rich. It is true that I laughed when you bought the penknife from me but you were correct. You did become a wealthy man.”

“Penknife? What penknife?” asked Daniel.

“Don’t your remember? It was such a foolish thing, really,” said David. “Remember the penknife I had gotten from the Polish nobleman that you so admired and wanted so desperately to have? It was only worth a few marks, but you had no money for it and you said that if I gave it to you, you would give me all the money you would eventually have over 10,000 marks.

“I laughed at the time for you were a penniless young man. But you were right. Look at you now…”


Daniel Petrified

As David continued to talk Daniel’s face turned pale and his heart felt as if a knife had cut through it. Indeed, he did remember now. What a foolish bargain! But it was a bargain and if he were held to it, it would mean that he was about to lose all he had accumulated over the years. All his furnishings, his wife’s jewelry, his proud coach and horses, the beautiful garden, all that his powerful steel safe held – all this was no longer his; it belonged to the man in rags who sat before him and spoke only of 1,000 marks.

What was he to do?

David noticed that his old friend looked white as a sheet and he cried out.

“Daniel, what is the matter? Are you ill? What has happened to you?”

“It is nothing, nothing, I have a bit of a headache and I would appreciate it if you could come back again a little later.”

As soon as David left, Daniel went to his wife and told her the entire story.

“We have lost almost everything,” he exclaimed.

His wife sat stunned and replied.

“Perhaps, if you sat with David, you could work out a compromise whereby he would take a lump sum and leave you most of your wealth.”

“I don’t doubt that for a moment,” said Daniel, “but my conscience would not allow me to do such a thing. After all, a man’s word is his bond. I made a bargain with him when I was young and, though it was foolish, I must live up to it.”

“What can I tell you, my husband,” replied his wife, “you are a good and honest man. I can only suggest that you go to Rav Tzvi Hirsch Levin and ask for his advice. Perhaps he can help us.”

“You are right. If there is any man in Berlin who is wise enough to find some answer for me it is Rav Tzvi Hirsch.”

Rushing into his carriage, Reb Daniel set off immediately for the home of the rav. As he rode he was greeted along the way by Jew and Christian alike. The great Reb Daniel Yaffe was a man whom all respected and this respect was clearly shown in their faces and the warmth of their greetings.

But this time, the greetings did not fill Daniel with joy. “Are they greeting me for myself or for my money? What will happen when I give up all my wealth to David? Will they still shout so warmly when they see me?” A deep sigh burst forth from Reb Daniel Yaffe’s soul and he exclaimed to himself: “At least there is one thing that can never be taken from me. All the good deeds that I have done with my money, all the charity and aid to the poor and needy will always be in my account in Heaven.”


The Rav’s Home

As he finished speaking these words, the carriage arrived at the home of Rav Tzvi Hirsch. Rushing out, Daniel hurried into the house.

Rav Tzvi Hirsch was in the midst of a lecture on Talmud to his students but he greeted the head of the Berlin community with sincere friendliness. When he saw that Daniel did not sit down to wait until the lecture was over, he excused himself to his students and asked Daniel if something was wrong.

“Rebbe,” Daniel replied, “I must see you about something very urgent – and I must see you alone.”

Rav Tzvi Hirsch saw that there was something serious involved and asked his students to leave him and Reb Daniel to themselves.

When they had left, Rav Tzvi Hirsch turned to Reb Daniel and was shocked to see tears running down the wealthy man’s face.

“Reb Daniel! What has happened? Why are you crying?”

“Rebbe, a tragedy has struck me! I think I have become a poor man overnight.”

(To be continued)

Rabbi Sholom Klass

A Woman of Courage and Strength

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

When I was little, my parents didn’t have much money so family vacations were non-existent. But somehow, for years if I remember correctly, my uncle and aunt invited me to spend a week at their house. These are the memories of a child – perhaps it was only a few days. For all I know, it could have been only one night – but the memory I carry with me was that I spent days and days with my Uncle Woodie and my Aunt Pia.

Pia was an accomplished artist – she filled her house with color and brightness. She was a wonderful mother…housewife…teacher. She was always dressed so beautifully, so elegantly. I have so many memories of her as I was growing up.

Seven years ago, Pia was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told she had months, maybe even just weeks, to live. She redefined courage as she fought back the disease time and time again.

When a doctor told her there was no hope… she decided not to listen. She went experimental treatments, was declared cancer free and continued to fight even after the disease re-appeared. She became a symbol for many as she launched campaigns to raise money and awareness for a disease that leaves devastation and shock in its wake.

Through it all, she continued to smile, continued to cherish her family. I saw her a bit over a year ago when she came to Israel to celebrate the bar mitzvah of her oldest grandson. There was such pride in her as she stood on Masada and watched her daughter’s family gather around.

We all knew the disease was still there and we knew she would continue to fight it for as long as she could. She never gave up; she never gave in.

She lost her battle with cancer on Friday (Shabbat in Israel).

There are many heroes in the world – perhaps the greatest are those who simply struggle to live their lives with dignity, respect, and love.

I always knew Pia was a woman of grace, beauty, talent and love. I have learned over the last few years, that she was also a woman of incredible courage and strength. May God bless her memory.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/a-woman-of-courage-and-strength/2013/08/18/

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