Catriel Lev's Blog: VeHaShalom VeHaEmmet

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Catriel Lev
כתריאל לב

Jun 25, 2010

The Completely Halachic House, A Parable

Many years ago I heard this parable:

It is said that a very rich Jew in Los Angeles decided to build his new house EXACTLY according to every stricture of Halachah. The man hired a very knowledgeable Rabbi, paid him well, and ordered all of those involved in building his house to follow the Rabbis instructions to the letter.

Eventually the house was completed, and all that remained was to affix the Mezzuzah upon the doorpost of the house; so the man made a lavish housewarming party, the climax of which was to be the affixing of the Mezzuzah upon the doorpost, and invited his friends and acquaintances.

At the climax of the ceremony, the man pronounced the blessing for affixing the Mezzuzah and, with a hammer, banged in the nail which affixed the Mezzuzah upon the doorpost of the house, at which point the entire house collapsed.

Crestfallen, the man went over to the Rabbi, and said, "Rabbi, why is it that, after I have built this house exactly according to all of the stringencies of the Halachah, when I affixed the Mezzuzah to the front doorpost, the entire house collapsed?"

To which the Rabbi replied, "You know, the Tosafot asks the same question!"

[This is a humorous parody, but it does, rather effectively, convey the flaw in following only theoretical Halachah, and fulfilling all of the different stringencies, to whatever end this may lead, without tempering it with a practical, moral foundation.]

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