Rav Shteinman: Steak, Ice Cream and Learning Torah


rav-shteinman2Rav Shlomo Levenstein, a gabbai of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, recently spoke at a bar mitzvah of twin boys whose father was niftar over Pesach. Rav Levenstein related the following incident.

A young man who lacked interest in limud haTorah went to Rav Shteinman and asked him, “Would the rov like a steak or ice cream?”

Rav Shteinman, apparently not knowing what either of these items are, asked the young man what he meant.

The young man replied that these items are delicious foods.

Rav Shteinman responded that he doesn’t want them.

The young man, with a streak of wit, said to the senior gadol that he is offering him foods that all people consider to be delicious and appetizing and yet Rav Shteinman does not have any interest in them.

“If so,” said the man, “I, who have no interest in learning Torah, can feel that way even though everyone says that Torah is sweet and enjoyable. So why must I be forced to learn Torah?”

Rav Shteinman smiled at the young man and told him, “If you give someone honey and they tell you that it is bitter, then he has sores in his mouth.”

It is not the honey that is lacking sweetness, explained Rav Shteinman. It is the person’s mouth that is the cause of the bitterness.

“The same is with learning Torah,” said Rav Shteinman. Those who do not want to learn Torah have sores – i.e., lashon hara – in their mouth, and they therefore have no desire to learn Torah.”

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Why do you have to assume that R Shteinman didn’t know what the foods are? Sounds more like it was a moshol, and R. Shteinman asked for the nimshol.

  2. He did not say its not good food he said he didn’t want it could be because he didn’t want to indulge in olam haze nothing to do with taste

  3. rav shlomo levinstein isn’t a gabbai of rav shteinman. he is a talmid chochom who lives in bnei braq and has numerous seforim and gives numerous shiurim weekly.

  4. #5- being a gabbai and being a big talmid chochom are not mutually exclusive; see gemara Brochos concerning Yehoshua being meshamesh Moshe Rabbeinu

  5. To #2: It is not a moshol. It is for real.

    It is a known fact that all he eats, every day , is a certain amount of ground grain that is measured exactly ,to be enough to stay alive.

    One of the people close to the Rosh Yeshiva, is a Talmid Chacham in his late sixties, who comes to America from time to time to raise money for Yeshivas Gaon Yaakov, which is headed by Maran Harav Shteinman Shlita.

    This Yid has stayed in my house and ate by me numerous times. One Mozaei Shabbos, as I was preparing something for him for Melave Malka, I asked him if he would eat a scrambled egg. He said OK. Then I asked him if he would like some cheese in the scrambled egg.

    He looked at me like I am from another planet, and he said: “Vos??? Mir leigt der keiz in der bei-tzah arein???

    These B’nei Brak Yidden who are steeped in Torah and Avoidah, and live meager lives of utmost simplicity, have the temimus, innocence and purity of a child. They really don’t know nor do they care to know about all the delicacies that we unfortunately fargreb ourselves with.