The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 4 July 2009 / 11 Tammuz 5769

True Nobility

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

Before her passing the wealthy widow told her daughter that she would inherit her considerable fortune but her condition was that she must go to a particular yeshiva and ask its head, the rosh hayeshiva, to match her in marriage with his best student.

The young woman did as told and the rosh hayeshiva without hesitation identified Reuven as his number one student. After a couple of meetings Reuven and the young woman were engaged. But soon some rumors reached the young woman that the report she received about Reuven being the best student in the yeshiva was exaggerated and that in reality it was Shimon who deserved that title. The girl began to have second thoughts as to whether she was fulfilling her mother's wish and her bad mood showed on her. Reuven became aware of the reason for the change in their relationship and graciously allowed her to break their engagement.

A short while after her marriage to Shimon the rosh hayeshiva who had recommended Reuven was approached by the head of another yeshiva who was looking for the best student to whom he wished to offer a prestigious position as a teacher. Of course it was Reuven whom he recommended, but Reuven refused to accept this once-in-a-lifetime offer. His explanation was that should his ex-fiancee hear that he received this much sought after position because he was really the top student, she might feel pain at having lost the opportunity to marry him because she refused to believe the rosh hayeshiva. Even such a position, he said, was not worth causing such pain to another.

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