Ethics

For the week ending 21 February 2009 / 27 Shevat 5769

Who Will Be the Sandak?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: A ba’al teshuvah – a returnee to a Torah way of life – was faced with a dilemma. When a son was born to him, his father, a non-observant Jew, asked for the privilege of being the sandak who holds the child during circumcision. The request was refused because the new father wanted to follow the tradition of according this honor to a righteous, G-d-fearing person and not to one who publicly violated the Shabbat. Upon hearing this, his father promised that if he would be the sandak he would begin observing Shabbat. What was the right thing to do?

Answer: This question was put before the great halachic authority, Rav Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv. His ruling was that as much as there is a great merit for the circumcised child to be held by a tzadik the merit would be much greater if giving this honor to his grandfather would be an impetus for him to become Shabbat observant.

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