Thursday, January 13, 2011

The CHAZON ISH and borrowing money


Just recently, I read the biography of the CHAZON ISH (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, 1878 - 1953). The author of the book was Rabbi Shimon Finkelman and the book itself was published by ARTSCROLL. As we all know, when ARTSCROLL publishes something, we won't find any or, at least, not much criticism around. Everyone is holy and only busied himself with doing righteous deeds.

I am not saying that the Chazon Ish was a bad person and full of hidden scandals. In fact, he was an extremely learned man and I wish I had his knowledge. However, my point is that while I read the book, I saw a certain comment written underneath one sentence. The book doesn't belong to me but I found it in a religious library. Someone else had read the book before me and made that comment. Call it a weird comment but I did actually agree with what this person expressed.

The Chazon Ish didn't have much money and always got along with very little cash. What he did was raising money for the poor and all kinds of occasions. One specific paragrah in the book says the following:

When this fund - raising was not sufficient, the Chazon Ish would procure personal loans. As time went on, and ever more people in need came to him for help, he was forced to borrow large amounts with increasing frequency. Every cent borrowed was given away to others.

Someone else wrote underneath this paragraph:


Furthermore, the person had underlined the words saying that the Chazon Ish was forced to borrow money. 

You can say that it is a Mitzvah helping the poor but one always has to consider the circumstances. When I simply don't have the money, I cannot help. The moment you borrow money in order to help and don't pay it back, the person lending you the money may be in need as well. This way, you are helping one needy person but may cause someone else to suffer a financial loss.

I am not saying this against the Chazon Ish but just in general !

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