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AMSHINOV- no quarter asked,no quarter given

Think of me as perpetual Shil'shel Peh

Friday, October 07, 2005

Our Newest (unknowing) Contributor


by Rabbi Berel Wein

Reprinted withOUT ANY permission from
- a collection of musings and observations

I wish to share with you a beautiful short story about the wonderful festival of Sukkot. The story was authored by S.Y. Agnon, the Israeli Nobel laureate who won the prize for literature a number of years ago, and whose likeness adorns the 50-shekel note in Israeli currency.

It seems that Agnon, who was born in Poland, was a neighbor of a famous old rabbi from Russia. Both of them are now living in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot. One year before Sukkot, Agnon met his rabbinic neighbor at the neighborhood store selling esrogim -- the yellow citron fruit which is symbolic of the Sukkot holiday. There Agnon noticed how meticulous his neighbor was in choosing an esrog. Even though he was a person of limited means, the rabbi insisted on purchasing the finest, and hence most expensive, esrog available. After examining many specimens, the rabbi finally chose the one he wished and paid for it.

Walking home with Agnon, the rabbi emphasized to him how important it was to have a beautiful, flawless esrog on Sukkot, and how the beauty of the esrog was part of the fulfillment of the Divine commandment for the holiday.

On Sukkot morning Agnon noticed that the rabbi was without an esrog at the synagogue services. Perplexed, Agnon asked the rabbi where his beautiful esrog was. The rabbi answered by relating the following incident:

"I awoke early, as is my wont, and prepared to recite the blessing over the esrog in my sukkah located on my balcony. As you know, we have a neighbor with a large family, and our balconies adjoin. As you also know, our neighbor, the father of all these children next door, is a man of short temper. Many times he shouts at them or even hits them for violating his rules and wishes. I have spoken to him many times about his harshness but to little avail.

"As I stood in the sukkah on my balcony, about to recite the blessing for the esrog, I heard a child's weeping coming from the next balcony. It was a little girl crying, one of the children of our neighbor. I walked over to find out what was wrong. She told me that she too had awakened early and had gone out on her balcony to examine her father's esrog, whose delightful appearance and fragrance fascinated her. Against her father's instructions, she removed the esrog from its protective box to examine it. She unfortunately dropped the esrog on the stone floor, irreparably damaging it and rendering it unacceptable for ritual use. She knew that her father would be enraged and would punish her severely, perhaps even violently. Hence the frightened tears and wails of apprehension.

"I comforted her, and I then took my esrog and placed it in her father's box, taking the damaged esrog to my premises. I told her to tell her father that his neighbor insisted that he accept the gift of the beautiful esrog, and that he would be honoring me and the holiday by so doing."

Agnon concludes the story by saying: "My rabbinic neighbor's damaged, bruised, ritually unusable esrog was the most beautiful esrog I have ever seen in my lifetime."

-amshinover:RBW is gonna kill you for this!


  • At 10/07/2005 10:14 AM, Anonymous brooklynbloggerbabe said…

    What a beautiful story.
    The Ben Ish Chai reminds us that as we, in preparation for Yom Kippur, turn to friends to ask for mechila for any wrongdoing, we should make sure to approach
    family as well, and due to the difficulty of keeping kibud av va'em properly, parents should be forthcoming in mechila towards their children.

  • At 10/07/2005 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    amshi, whats your email address?

  • At 10/07/2005 10:44 AM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said…


  • At 10/07/2005 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i want to know when you went to yst

  • At 10/07/2005 10:51 AM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said…

    i stopped in 1998ish

  • At 10/07/2005 10:55 AM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said…

    Anonymous kindly email me @

  • At 10/09/2005 8:56 AM, Anonymous Rabbi Berel Wein said…

    Dear amishinover
    This is to inform you that I will be suing your %&$ for every penny that you own. I expect that it’s not very much, seeing that you spend your time engaged in very worthless blog. Oh yes, I have perused your inconsequential blogging, I have confidently determined that this blog is a overall waste of expended human effort. To attempt to bolster your content by mooching off me is absolutely iniquitous and most likely sinful.
    I (my lawyers) will track you down and haul your sorry excuse for a “noun” to court.
    Thank you,
    Rabbi Berel Wien

    P.S. As it is the aseres yamei tshuva you may apologize to me at,
    or here on your blog. I will be checking erev yom kippur.
    A gamar tov

  • At 10/10/2005 9:11 AM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said…

    --- The following addresses had delivery problems ---> (5.1.1>... User unknown)

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: amshinover
    Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 10:16:57 -0400
    rebbe? is that you?


  • At 10/11/2005 9:38 AM, Anonymous Rabbi Berel Wein said…

    Dear Amshinover,
    It appears that the customary email address assigned to me at the Mesorah Heritage foundation is undergoing some regular maintenance. I was not duly informed I have very infrequent communiqué transmitted to me via this apparatus. Therefore, after having conferred with the technical staff at Artscroll, it appears that I have an interim email address which is as follows: You may use this for any suitable correspondence.
    My lawyer sends his sincerest salutations.

    Rabbi Berel Wein

  • At 10/11/2005 10:46 AM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said…

    dear Rabbi Berel Wein,
    i am so glad you got smeecha, because as long as i knew you,you never refered to yourself as Rabbi.Also rebbe my wife and kids are in your side of town for yom kipper please send her my best.A gmar tov to you (oh wait now i have to call you The rebbe shlita i quess) and jackie.


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