The Matzav Shmooze: Honesty Should be Respected


thinkingDear Readers,

A few months ago, the klal was shocked by the sudden petirah of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt”l following a massive heart attack.  Immediately afterwards, the true financial state of the Mir Yeshiva was revealed. Last week, amid great fanfare, all debts were paid and Mir is on even footing. One comment on Matzav stood out the most. The comment was, “Had the money been
raised eight months ago, Mir would have had both the money and Rav Nosson Tzvi.”

This is a sad but true commentary on the community outlook of chessed. Chessed shel emes is extremely important, but certain tragedies could certainly be averted had the community done chessed to the living.

People spend their entire lives building their reputations and trustworthiness by dealing honestly with people.  This is sometimes at the expense of a financial windfall available by cutting corners.  To them, living an honest and ehrliche life is their endowment to the world.  Instead of being respected and lauded, they are mocked and ridiculed.

On Friday, Rav Shlomo Pomerantz zt”l was niftar. He was a man who was averse to any kind of negative speech or writings about others. It’s time to do chessed for the living and look out for those struggling to make an honest living. At the very least, they shouldn’t be mocked and have more obstacles thrown in their paths.

A Chicago Yid


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. It is a tremendous siyata d’shmaya that our new rosh yeshiva shlit’a managed to raise such astronomical sums to cover all the debts from the past five years, it’s pretty clear that R Nosson Tzvi ztl is helping from above. Anyway paying off debts is only the first step, and there is still a big concern about the future, so please don’t stop giving again and again, and I’m sure the rosh yeshiva ztl will be a meiltz yosher

  2. I’m at a loss over here.

    You write “He was a man who was averse to any kind of negative speech or writings about others.” But isn’t your whole letter slandering Jewish people as being dishonest or not willing to do chesed with those alive?

    What’s going on here?!?!

    I think you should re-think your letter and then re-write it.

  3. thank you for appreciating the worth and intent of my comment. it has been said that if the yidden in america wouid give the full 10% to tzedakah, no yeshiva or mossad would have budgetary issues. lets band together for the zechus lirifuah shelayma of maran harave elyashiv, yosef shalom ben chaya musha lirifuah shelaima bitoch shear cholay yisroel

  4. All too often the consequences of overlooking dishonesty come back to haunt and harm far worse than the original falsehood did.

  5. Excellent point! Indeed, the highest level of Tzedakah is helping a person before he falls.
    If only people would stand up and help compensate Rebbeim and Moros of Yeshivos that didn’t get that help, and were forced to close.

  6. Rabbi teitz said exactley that at Reb ahron kotlers levaya
    If the balei Baltimore wouldve helped he would not have died so early
    ?????? ???? has copies if you don’t believe me

  7. I really understand where you’re coming from, but I think it’s important that we also accept that this was the timing Hashem ordained. That it causes agmas nefesh, such as you and others are feeling, is another story; let it propel us all to do right by others, by I don’t know if I can agree with the fundamental premise. Perhaps if this was being said by someone with a name and stature.

  8. Yasher Kochachem.

    Another area that requires improvement is Shmiras Shabbos. in spite of the declaration of all of the local Rashei HaYeshivos and Rashei HaKollelim that it is defective, many Chicago Jews rely on the controversial Chicago Eruvs and commit R”L (Rachmana Litzlan) Chilul Shabbos BeFarhesia.

    Fellow Jews in Chicago and elsewhere: Let us be more careful in our adherance to Torah and Mitzvos! The Rebono Shel Olam — with His Infinite Chesed — will respond and bless us accordingly!

  9. Please do not be Motzei Laaz on those who use the Eruv in Chicago – while many Rabbonim hold it is defective, many venerated Rabbonim permit its use. This is a Macklokes which has basis in earlier poskim – do not condemn those who use the Eruv as M’chalei Shabbos

  10. You always hear announcements AFTER a person R”L is nifter, we are collecting funds to help the mishpacha. They have a lot of debt. They owe for hospital bills. The kids tuition is 2 years behind, etc… Nu so how come no one helps while they are alive? It’s takah a taana!

  11. Mir’s debts are not all settled. Far from it. The debts to the yungeleit are paid. There remains millions in other chovos to vendors, and to those who lent them money to get out of some of the holes.

    It was a gerat accomplishment to get as far as they have. But the job is by no means complete.

  12. HONESTY is the key to success in everything. from business to relationships to friendships etc…

    DIShonesty & CORRUPTION brings a person to destruction & makes him lose everything.

    Be honest & be gaurenteed success straight from Hashem.

    every person makes the same amount Hashem says on Rosh hashana the only question is the gift of free will. will it be $40,000 honestly or $50,000 dishonestly & $10,000 damage to your house or car etc… THATS UP TO EACH PERSONS CHOICE OF FREE WILL

  13. Chicago jew. Stop talking nonsense. The eruv has the haskomo of R’ Vosner and other prominent local Chicago Rabbonim.

    A lot of eruvin are “controversial” and that doeesnt equal that anyone who uses it is a mechalel shabbos befarhesya.

    Enough with the divisive hateful and intolerant remarks already.

  14. to comment time: I’m paying around $34,000 in tuition a year. I don”t make $340,000 a year, maybe 1/3 of that. What planet are you from or are you retired and married off all your kids already?

  15. I can’t believe the very same person who said we should avoid Rechilus just made this comment.

    The Chiacgo Eruv is accpeted by a wide variety of Poskim – including Rav Wosner of Monsey. Along with his partner in building the Eruv, Rabbi Lenny Matanky was Rabbi Zev Cohen. He is one of the finest products of the Chicago Community Kollel (Lakewood). He and rabbi Matanky worked day and night to assure that every possible Hiddur was built into the Chicago Eruv. Rabbi Coehn is a man who does not budge without consulting his own Rebbe, Rav Feigelstock of Long Beach. Rav Feigelstock stands by Rabbi Cohen.

    Your comment is Motzi Laz on him and all the Yereim and Shelamim who Paskined that the Eruv was Kosher – and on those who rely on it.

    That said I realize that my own Rebbe, R’ Ahron Soloveichik, felt that this Eruv was Pasul and that the Tzibur is being Mechalel Shabbos B’Shogeg. He bases his view on his understanding of R’ Moshe’s definition of Shishim Riva. But Rav Wosner and others (including R’ Dovid Feinstein) dispute that interpretation.

    I personally do not use the Eruv because of my Rebbe. But to cast aspersions on those who were Machshir it and those who use it is why Moshiach isn’t here yet.

  16. Emes Le’Amitoi!!

    The letter writer has reminded me of my own feelings starting out years ago. No one was willing to give me the breaks I needed. The pressures finally broke me. It hurts to admit that I made business decisions based on earning potential at the expense of Torah beliefs. Baruch Hashem my decisions have paid me well, but this letter was a definite wakeup call that can’t be ignored.

    I agree wih the points made to also assist struggling baalei mishpacha and to not kibbetz with people who stay strong in their honesty. I feel your frustration.

  17. Mashiach has not come BECAUSE people are carrying on Shabbos! You have it all wrong! Rav Wosner from Monsey is the ONLY one who gives his “OK” on the Flatbush Eruv! Hello hello, NOBODY holds of the Flatbush Eruv! The only people carrying here, are the Modern 0rthodox who claim to have an Eruv here since the 60’s (even when Reb Moshe was still alive). There are similar issues with the Far Rockaway eruv as well. Rav Belsky’s shita is well known & accepted by all Bnei Torah! This is a known fact so don’t try to poo poo it with this “why can’t we all get along” mindset!

  18. A Machlokes is no excuse to say ‘this is why Moshiach has not come’. A mistake in Halacha does not make one a apikores. R’ Moshe himself gave a Haskoma to a sefer called ‘Tikum Eiruvim’, which attempted to prove the permissibility of making an Eruv in Manhattan. As R’ Moshe wrote – although I have a different approach to the matter, this the derech of Torah.

  19. I cant believe what I’m reading. Why does every comment have to “shtoch”. What shaiychus does the Chicago Eiruv have to do with anything. Leave out the slander. Try to see beToov Am Yisroel.

  20. Raboisai! This letter is gadlus!

    Some people can’t accept the mussar and halachos being highlighted so brilliantly by the letter’s author, that they feel the need to divert the topic to other machlokesim. The author of the letter is alerting people to the Rambam Hilchos Matnas Aniyim Perek Yud.

    The highest level beyond which there is none is a person who supports a Jew who has fallen into poverty by giving him a present or a loan, entering into partnership with him, or finding him work so that his hand will be fortified so that he will not have to ask others. The Sifri explains that this means before the person has fallen into poverty, his financial position is still viable. Hopefully, with a little bit of assistance, he can rectify his situation and return to prosperity. Before he falls, one person can hold him up. Once he falls, even five people cannot raise him.

    The lowest level is giving a person in need with an angry demeanor. (As the author wrote so eloquently: At the very least, they shouldn’t be mocked and have more obstacles thrown in their paths).

  21. I’m cringing reading these negative comments! Can’t any local rabbi or community leader who understands the issues in town convince everyone to stop bickering and just co-exist? Can’t everyone at least keep nasty comments to themselves as the letter writer was alluding to? Try to emulate Rabbi Pomerantz who respected all kinds of Jews and never spoke negatively about others. Shalom might help bring brachah back to the city of Chicago and other locales suffering from the plague of machlokes.


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