Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

Rosh Hashanah 35: A Clean Reputation


On this daf, we find that a chazzan has the power to discharge the obligation of people in the fields who are not in shul due to duress. Clearly, people who serve the community in this manner should be above reproach when possible, just like the rov of a town.

A certain talmid chochom was on the verge of being appointed the rov of a community when he was caught perpetrating a serious sin. Although he did a genuine teshuvah, the people of his community were unsure whether they should remove him from his post. After all, his teshuvah was surely accepted, but perhaps it was still unacceptable to keep him on as rov, since people were speaking about how he had fallen. Was this appropriate for their community?

Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein brings a similar case regarding a prohibition: “The Mishnah Berurah says clearly that a chazzan who sinned on purpose, and about whom people are speaking, may not be appointed. Nevertheless, he rules that such a chazzan should not be removed from his position if he was already working. One would have assumed that the same should hold true for a community rov who was already appointed and working at his job. When the Chasam Sofer was presented with a similar question, he wrote that he was navuch, perplexed, whether one should remove a rabbi with a bad reputation due to his sin. It is clear from both sources, however, that one should not appoint such a person as rov” (Chashukei Chemed).


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