Why the rabbi did not eat

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO — Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, formerly Rav of Cong. Zera Avraham of Denver and currently a prominent Rav in Baltimore, attended a meeting of a number of charity organizations in Baltimore. The meeting was hosted in the home of a member of the community. The committee was discussing the best way to distribute funds and who should receive the money.

The host had placed refreshments on the tables, but Rabbi Hopfer had not partaken of any of the food or drink. Despite several offers from the host to eat or drink something, Rabbi Hopfer kept declining. The host started to wonder why the rabbi was not eating his food.

Rabbi Hopfer explained his actions. “We are here discussing so many sad stories, so many people who need our help financially and otherwise. I feel that if I refrain from eating, and I experience a bit of hunger and discomfort, I’ll be better equipped to make decisions concerning these poverty-stricken individuals.”

Rashi tells us that although Moshe was a prince in the house of Pharaoh, when he saw the sufferings of his Jewish brethren, he suffered along with them. We, too, must not ignore the plight of others, even though we ourselves may not directly be affected by their problems.

The foregoing true story is documented in Inside Torah published by Denver Kollel.

Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego.  Your comment may be posted in the space below or sent to [email protected]

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