Rosh Yeshiva’s Inspiring Yom Kippur Decision: 1,400 Dapim of Gemara Over $30,000

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A fascinating episode occurred on Yom Kippur at Yeshivas Chachmei Yerushalayim in Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel in Israel that portrays how Yidden view Torah as being more valuable than thousands of silver and golden coins.

Before krias haTorah, as is customary at yeshivos throughout the world, the privilege of receiving an aliyah was auctioned off. However, an unforeseen and unusual dilemma confronted the rosh yeshiva, Rav Shneur Potash.

The bidding for one of the aliyos turned into an extraordinary competition between one of the top talmidim of the yeshiva and a wealthy man, himself an alumnus of the yeshiva. The bidding ended with the wealthy man offering $30,000 for the aliyah, while the yeshiva bochur pledged to learn 1,400 dapim of Gemara. When the bidding ended, all eyes turned to the rosh yeshiva, Rav Potash, who had to decide which bid was the more favorable one.

Rav Potash did not hesitate for a moment and decided that the winning bid was the 1,400 pages of Gemara over the bid of $30,000.

There was an audible gasp in the bais medrash.

Everyone affiliated with the yeshiva knows of the difficulties that Rav Potash has in raising funds for the maintenance of Chachmei Yerushalayim. Here, he had the opportunity to receive $30,000, a sum that would be extremely helpful in the maintenance of the yeshiva. Without any hesitation, though, Rav Potash demonstrated that “Yekarah hee mipninim – [The Torah] is more precious than pearls” (Mishlei 3:15). His decision had a profound impact on the mispallelim.

The other aliyos and kibbudim sold for high prices. The other aliyos and kibbudim sold for high prices. Maftir Yonah was purchased for $30,000 and opening the aron kodesh for Ne’ilah went for $35,000. These donations will assist the yeshiva, which is famous for its success in producing outstanding bnei Torah.

Since Chachmei Yerushalayim was established by Rav Potash, he has guided numerous bochurim throughout their formative years, maintaining contact with each one even after they’ve left his yeshiva.

Rav Potash’s decision on Yom Kippur taught his talmidim a powerful lesson of “Tov li toras picha me’alfei zahav vakesef.”

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}

10 COMMENTS

    • My thoughts exactly. If he was able to bid that high, he obviously is a baar yachoilis and can donate stam azoiy. Ken zein, he really shtark wanted that aliyah and lemaaseh he didnt get it, so it could be he got insulted and will give his tzidaka elsewhere. Nonetheless, interesting story.

  1. I feel bad for the 1400 guy.
    For one, he’ll have to live that his bid cost the Yeshiva a “Hoin Rav”.
    Two, can’t he learn without the Aliya on Yom Kippur?
    In any event, in the post Yom Kippur mode, I’ll forgive him.

  2. It’s ab it inyon for one to buy himself an aliya on yomim noraim. If he wants to still give the money, good. If not, no one has the business to decide whether or not he should give it.

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