CHASSIDISHE STORY ON THE PARSHA
Parshas Ki Seitzei
והתעלמת מהם השב תשיבם לאחיך…והשבותו לו (כי תצא כב:א-ב)You shall surely return them to your brother. If your brother is not near you… it shall remain with you until your brother inquires about it.
There was once a “Rabbinical Gathering” where many Hungarian Rabbanim assembled. One of the Rabbanim present was the Mader Rav, Hagaon Reb Mordche Leib Winkler zt’’l, from the renowned Gedolei Hador. Before entering the seating area, the Rabbanim removed their hats and hung them outside the room. Following the meeting, everyone took their hat, and the Mader Rav mistakenly took the Debretziner Rav, Reb Shlomo Tzvi HaKohen Strasser’s zt’’l hat and the Debretziner Rav took the Mader Rav’s hat. Though the Debretziner’s hat was new (his community supported him generously), and the Mader Rav’s hat was worn and bent, they both didn’t notice since they were in loftier realms.
When they returned home, the Mader Rav sent the Debretziner a letter saying that since they switched hats, halachically, they were supposed to return it to each other. But, since the Debretziner’s hat fits him, why bother the hassle of traveling to exchange hats. Each should stay with the other’s, and I, the Mader Rav, am moichel (forgive) the Debretziner for having his hat and gifting it to him. The Mader Rav was so detached from worldly material that he didn’t notice that this hat was new versus his old hat, and he thought that if he were satisfied with the Debreciner’s hat, the Debreciner would be satisfied with his hat.
The Debreciner Rav didn’t make an issue out of it and was moichel his hat, though he received an old and worn hat in return. Understandably, his community bought him a new hat right away.
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