Off the Pulpit

Don’t Trouble Yourself

There is a beautiful story told of the Brisker Rav, Reb Hayyim Halevy Soloveitchik. Once a man arrived late at night in Brisk. All the houses were dark save one so he knocked at the door. He was greeted warmly, and the host prepared a meal for him. Looking around the man saw that the house was filled with sefarim, sacred books, and surmised that the man was learned, a Rabbi or a perhaps a Dayyan, a judge.

The man became uncomfortable disturbing a scholar and said to his host, “You needn’t trouble yourself.” His host didn’t answer but instead began to make the bed and the man said, “You needn’t trouble yourself.”

The next morning, the two went to synagogue together and the traveler discovered that his host was the famed Rabbi, who offered the man the honor of hagbah, lifting the Torah. As the man prepared to lift it, the Rabbi whispered, “You needn’t trouble yourself.”

Through his own example the Brisker Rav was teaching the beautiful lesson that we should take no less trouble for a human being than we would for a scroll of Torah. When another person needs us, it is not a burden but a mitzvah.