June 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We Never Lose by ‘Living Emunah’

Reviewing: “Living Emunah — Achieving a Life of Serenity Through Faith” by Rabbi David Ashear. 2014. Paperback. 320 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1422615379.

Give In

Tzemach is a singer and bandleader who entertains at simchas for a livelihood. On one occasion, he was hired by the mother of the bride to play at her daughter’s wedding. As he and his men were setting up their equipment at the wedding hall, another band came in, lugging their equipment.

“What are you doing here?” Tzemach asked.

“We were hired to provide the music for this wedding,” Yonasan, the other bandleader, replied.

“By whom?” Tzemach asked.

“Mr. Rubin, the father of the bride.”

The baal simcha saw the two groups facing off and joined them. After a brief conversation, they figured out what had happened. Mr. Rubin had asked his wife to book a band but had forgotten, so he hired one as well.

“I’m terribly sorry for the mix-up,” Mr. Rubin said, embarrassed. “Would one of you agree to forfeit the gig and let the other band play? I’ll pay you something for your trouble.”

The two bandleaders agreed to work it out on their own.

“Well,” Tzemach said. “We were here first, so I think you should leave.”

“I don’t think so,” Yonasan replied. “We came to play music. We’re not leaving.”

The two men glared at each other.

One of Tzemach’s musicians pulled him aside. “I know that the lead singer of the other band has a daughter in the hospital and their medical bills are very high. Maybe we should let them perform because he really needs the money,” he suggested.

Tzemach was moved by the man’s compassion. “Okay,” he told Yonasan. “We’ll leave. You stay and play.”

But to his surprise, Yonasan changed his tune. “No, you can play.” He had just become aware that Tzemach had a large family and needed the parnassa. Back and forth they went, each man telling the other that he wanted to give in.

“I have an idea!” one of the musicians said. “Since we’re all here anyway and have no other booking tonight, let’s all play together and split the fee.”

Instead of a four- or five-piece band, they now formed a nine-piece band!

When the baal hasimcha saw them setting up, he said, “I’m sorry, I can’t afford to pay both groups.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Tzemach said. “We worked it out.”

The music that night was on another level. There was such joy in the hall, and everyone commented on the lively music. The musicians played as though they had been practicing together for years.

One man in the crowd said out loud, “What a waste of money it is to hire such a large band.” He had no idea of the self-sacrifice that was involved in having that group standing up there that night.

The notes and tunes must have gone straight up to Shamayim and given nachas ruach to Hashem because of the great sacrifice each side was willing to make.

The zechus of “being mevater,” giving in and avoiding machlokes, is beyond comprehension.

_____________

A man once went to Rav Shteinman, complaining about his neighbor. Rav Shteinman told him, “Turn away and give in.”

The man came back another time and said, “It’s getting much worse.”

Rav Shteinman told him, “Give in again. There is no limit to giving in.”

The gadol then proceeded to tell him a story to give him chizuk.

When Rav Itzele from Ponevezh left the Slabodka Yeshiva, the Alter from Slabodka began looking for a replacement to be the rosh yeshiva. He offered the position to Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, although he was very young. Rav Isser Zalman worried that his widowed mother-in-law would feel bad if her son, who was much older and equally qualified, wasn’t given the position. So he asked if both he and his brother-in-law, Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, could take the position together. His request was granted.

A few years went by, and it became clear that these two great rabbis had very different styles of learning. It was not beneficial for the yeshiva to have them share the position of rosh yeshiva. Rav Isser Zalman handed the position to his brother-in-law and established a new yeshiva elsewhere. That yeshiva eventually moved to what today is known as the famed Beis Medrash Govoha, the Lakewood Yeshiva.

Rav Isser Zalman went on to become a towering Torah scholar, and every beis midrash in the world uses his masterpiece, Even HaEzel. In his new yeshiva’s location, he merited to meet Rav Aharon Kotler, who became his son-in-law. Rav Shach also learned in that yeshiva and developed a close connection to Rav Isser Zalman. A major part of the Torah world that exists today emanated from Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. He gave up a very prestigious position to honor someone else and he only gained as a result.

We never lose by being mevater.

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