JERUSALEM (VINnews) — In times when Israeli leaders fight to gain tax breaks from the state despite nearly 25% unemployment in Israel due to coronavirus, it is illuminating to see how a rabbinic leader acted during a similar period of economic depression when he received a present in honor of the Pesach festival.
The Kedem auction house is now auctioning a letter from the Steipler, Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievski, written to the Bnei Brak municipality in 1985, just a few months before his death. The municipality had decided to send him a check for 400,000 NIS (which due to the hyperinflation at the time was worth much less) as “participation in the printing of his books.” The Steipler answered in a letter in which he returned the check, stating that “I do not accept any help except for taxes (municipal rates) which the Torah absolved me from. I am not poor thank G-d.” The letter concluded with the Steipler’s wishes to the mayor: “I seek his welfare and honor him according to his lofty status.”
הָיֹה היו מנהיגים שסירבו לקבל הטבות: בית המכירות קדם חושף מסמך בכתב יד ה"סטייפלער", רבי יעקב ישראל קניבסקי (אבא של), שקיבל שי לחג (סליחה, "השתתפות בהדפסת ספרים") בסך 400 אלף ₪, ושלח אותם בחזרה עם הערה קטנה: "אני לא עני, ברוך השם". כעבור ארבעה חודשים נפטר https://t.co/4KM1M8VEOm pic.twitter.com/sLhQGqYSan
— קובי נחשוני (@KobiNachshoni) June 24, 2020
Kedem auction house owner Maron Aran told Ynet that “the lack of bold, honest and truly humble leaders is very evident nowadays. Rabbi Kanievski left behind a rich heritage which one can experience and appreciate a little from the document being revealed at present. Let us hope that our people and its leaders will learn an important lesson from the righteous men of a generation bygone.”