Shabbat Parashat Korach

This week’s parsha demonstrates how even (some) people of high intellect and good standing are very often not happy with their own status, only because others have made it higher…

In this context, I cherish the following story: 

The famous Rabbi Yonatan Eybeschütz who was the Dayan, a rabbinical judgein Hamburg-Altona some 250 years ago, once had a local butcher coming to his chambers, asking the Rav to rule on the Kashrut of a calf which was slaughtered that day. It was not clear whether the Shechita was done properly and it is kosher, or not. 

The Rav looked into it and ruled that the calf was “treifa” and cannot be used for sale as kosher meat. The butcher accepted the ruling, thanked the Rav and left.

A week later, the same butcher came in for a Din Torah, i.e. a hearing in front of a recognised Jewish court. He was arguing with another person on a relatively small sum of money. The Rav ruled against him, and the butcher became very upset and agitated. 

Rav Yonatan asked the butcher: “When you came last week, my ruling that the calf is treif and you cannot sell it meant a very substantial monetary loss for your business, and yet, you accepted it calmly. This time – your loss is really very negligible, and you are so upset? “

The butcher tried to smile, and said: “Yes, Last week I lost a lot of money, but nobody else gained it. Today, in the Din Torah, I lost to someone else who gained it, and this is something I can’t take even if it is such a small amount…

Best wishes and Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld