Friday, January 14, 2011

Anecdote from the Talmud

  When Rabbi Levi Yitzchak assumed his rabbinical post in Berditchev, he stipulated that he not be called to any communal meetings unless some new general enactment was on the agenda. At one such meeting, a proposal was made to forbid beggars from collecting house to house. Instead they would only be allowed to congregate outside the local synagogue, where anyone so disposed could offer a contribution.

R' Levi Yitzchak was upset. "Why did you ask me to attend this meeting?" he wanted to know. The elders were surprised. "But the proposal under discussion is new," they said. "We need the Rav's approval."

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak replied: "This not a new idea. The idea of limiting opportunities for the poor and not wanting to help others originated in Sodom!"

-from the Pirkei Avos Treasury