Ethics

For the week ending 8 December 2007 / 28 Kislev 5768

Repeating the Speech

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: In one of your recent issues you discussed the problem of a public speaker disturbed by listeners whispering to each other. My problem is that the frequency of my lectures to various audiences causes me to sometimes worry that someone in the audience has already heard what I have to say on another occasion. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: The founder of the Ponevez Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman, was a world-renowned speaker in addition to being a leading Torah figure. On a lecture tour in the US he delivered a great talk in New York. Since it was so well received he decided to give the same talk a couple of nights later in another city.

As he ascended the podium, however, he noticed that an elderly gentleman sitting in the front row was one of the people he addressed in New York. Afraid of forcing this Jew to hear the same talk once again, the rabbi quickly improvised with a different talk.

At the conclusion of this inspiring talk that gentleman approached him and said:

"Rabbi, that was a great talk but it did not compare to the one you gave in New York. That one was so outstanding that I came all the way here to hear it once again."

The moral of the story is: Don't worry about repeating the speech. If you can't get over your concern just start off with this story.

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