Mar 14, 2011

What's Amazing - Am I a Crook?!

Rabbi Orlofsky tells about the day he took his kids to Central Park and had no choice but to park his car in a lot at $18 an hour.  Then the attendant said, "You've got a van, and the price for a van is $36 an hour!"

When he came back to retrieve his car, the new attendant asked him for $18.  After an inner struggle and clenching his teeth, Rabbi Orlofsky asked him, "Is it the same price for a van?"

The attendant said, "Oh right, it's $36 for a van, thank you very much."

Rabbi O's former student who was there with him and amazed that he had volunteered the information said, "What a tzaddik you are," to which Rabbi O said, "It's easy to be a tzaddik for $18.  Can you be a tzaddik for $18,000?"

"What do you mean?" asked his talmid.

R' O explained that three people in Har Nof, where he lives, had their cars stolen.  And each of the three was asked by the insurance company, "Did you have your alarm on?"

There is no way the insurance company would know if they did or did not have their alarm on and the result of a "no" meant they would receive no money and yet all three said, "no."  When Rabbi O. said to one of them, "That's amazing," the man said, "What's amazing about it? Am I crook? A liar? I have a chavrusa who was telling me, maybe there's a heter because it's a corporation and this and that, and I said, 'You love me so much that you want to lie and steal for me? I didn't know you were such a friend! But I'm not so good.  I don't want to lie and steal.'"

Some people, sad to say, boast about the "shtick" (read: geneiva) they pull off.

Chazal (Eiruvin 65) say A person's character can be recognized in three ways:

B'kiso - lit. his pocket, i.e. his spending, when he has money, does he apportion it correctly? is he generous? stingy? How far will he go for a "buck?" How far will he go for many bucks?

B'ka'aso - his anger, can he control himself, even when angry?

B'koso - lit. his cup, i.e. his drinking - how does he behave when inebriated?

How refreshing to read about people who do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. People who absolutely recoil at the idea of being a thief and a liar.

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