The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 22 May 2010 / 8 Sivan 5770

The Extra Letter

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The author of a scholarly Torah work brought his manuscript to the renowned Torah giant Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in Bnei Brak for his review. In this work he repeatedly quoted things that he had heard from the Sage and wanted his approval that he had faithfully cited his words.

To his surprise Rabbi Kanievsky made no corrections in the text but did erase one letter of his own name wherever it was mentioned as the source. Dozens of times he eliminated an extra letter yud from his name.

The author wondered aloud why such a correction was necessary since it did not affect the actual scholarly text. "The extra letter is a lie," replied the Sage, "and it cannot remain even if it will not lead to any misunderstanding of your text."

"But why bother making the correction dozens of times, "asked the author, "when I could have made all the corrections with one press of a button on the computer?"

"A lie cannot be skipped over while I am reviewing," answered the Sage, "so I couldn't continue reading until I made each correction."

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