Ethics

For the week ending 1 September 2007 / 18 Elul 5767

Parshat Ki Tavo

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: With the Torah reading of the tochacha chapter of reproof coming up this Shabbat I am reminded of the great difficulties I have encountered in trying to persuade fellow Jews to become observant. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: The Chafetz Chaim compared your situation to that of a storekeeper. Does he lose his temper because the buyer is too choosey, or too stubborn, or because he bargains too much? Does he ever consider refusing to sell to him? Did you ever see a storekeeper put a sign on his door that he sells only to easy customers and that tough ones are unwelcome? The answer to all these questions is that a storekeeper has to be patient and forgiving, and speak softly to a tough customer if he wishes to make a living.

The same is true in regard to "selling" a Jew on observance. If you run into a tough customer who finds fault with the merchandise or haggles over the price, you must remember to try a little harder to win him over. The reward for such an effort, concluded the Chafetz Chaim, is assured, for even the toughest customer eventually buys something from a patient storekeeper.

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