Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023

Megillah 22: A Settled Dispute

On this daf, we find more discussions about aliyos.

In a certain American shul, the gabbai had a talent for sensing who would likely make a big nedavah if treated properly, giving him an aliyah in a manner that made the recipient be very generous. It vexed him that sometimes the wealthy man regretted his pledge and paid much less instead.

One wealthy man davened in the shul and the gabbai called him up in such an honorable fashion that he pledged to give two thousand dollars. A few days after Shabbos, the wealthy man entered the shul and gave an envelope to the gabbai that contained two hundred dollars.

The gabbai was incensed. “You pledged two thousand and give two hundred?”

“I gave what I pledged!” retorted the gevir.

“I know how to deal with you cheats!” responded the gabbai.

To the horror of the gevir, he took out a small recorder from his pocket, which immediately began replaying from just before the man’s aliyah on Shabbos. It played the flowery language when the gabbai called him up, the brachos, the aliyah, the mi shebeirach, and finally the wealthy man’s pledge.

“I put this recorder on a timer so that I can catch liars red-handed,” explained the gabbai to the stunned gevir.

The gevir suddenly snatched the envelope from the hands of the gabbai. “I won’t give a penny to a shul where they violate Shabbos in this manner!” he declared.

When Rav Chaim Kanievsky was asked whether the gevir was obligated to pay what he had pledged to the shul, he replied, “Certainly not, since he is within his rights to refrain from giving money to such a shul. The gabbai must pay what the shul definitely lost on his account. He owes the two hundred dollars that the shul would have profited had he not engaged in chillul Shabbos.”

When Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein told this story, he added, “Just hearing this should making any feeling person cry” (Borchi Nafshi, Parshas Bamidbar).

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