The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 21 March 2009 / 25 Adar I 5769

Half a Cup Better than a Whole

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Everyone who participated in the Torah lecture given in the synagogue in Ohr Yehuda appreciated the cup of hot tea that Rabbi Tzion voluntarily brought to them. But they failed to understand why he always served only half a cup and suspected him of stinginess.

The secret of his strange behavior became known when he failed to come to the learning session on time and his son filled in for him. When Rabbi Tzion belatedly arrived and saw that his son had filled the cups to the top, he quickly emptied half of each. Asked to explain this very unusual action, he asked his son if he was familiar with a couple of the regular participants whose names he mentioned. When the son acknowledged that he knew them, Rabbi Tzion pointed out that the hands of these elderly Jews shook, and if their cups were full there was a danger that the tea would spill and cause some burns or dirty their clothes and cause them embarrassment. He therefore decided that in this case half a cup was better than a whole one.

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