For the week ending 10 September 2011 / 10 Elul 5771

What Would You Do for Yourself?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library

Question: Someone who prays in the same synagogue with me left his tefillin home one day in his rush to come to the Shacharit service on time. He approached someone with a request to lend him tefillin when he completed his shmone esrei so he would be able to catch his regular ride and save the time and expense of taking several buses to his place of work or hailing an expensive cab. This neighbor hesitated to do so because he was accustomed to keeping his tefillin on until the very end of the service in accordance with the most preferred practice. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: This very question came before Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rabbi of the Ramat Elchanan community in Bnei Brak. His response was based on something that the Chofetz Chaim wrote in his Mishna Berura about a person engaging in only as much work as he needs for his basic subsistence so that the major part of his time can be devoted to Torah study. In order that his evil inclination should not delude him into how much he needs for his subsistence, he writes, let him imagine a situation in which he assumed responsibility for supporting someone else and then consider what he estimates a basic level of subsistence.

Applying this to the above situation, Rabbi Zilberstein asked the reluctant tefillin wearer what he would do for himself if keeping his tefillin on until the end of the service would mean that he would be late for work and be forced to take a cab. Whatever he would have done for himself in such a case is what is incumbent on him in regard to the other fellow.

This is the meaning of “Love your neighbor like yourself”.

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at [email protected] and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions

« Back to Ethics

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.