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The Sanzer Rav

The Sanzer Rav was a gaon and a saint But the Gaon Rav Yechezkial Landau,. the Noda B' yehuda, would call him a liar. Every day the Sanzer Rav would say the prayer, Ashamnu, Bagadnu (I have sinned, : have been false, etc.,) when in reality he never did sin in his life and he was as pure as an angel. "Now isn't he a liar, when he says this prayer?" asked the Noda B'yehuda.

The Sanzer Rav would study day and night. He would always say, "Why did all the Gemaras start with page two (bet) and not with page one (alef)? To teach us that although we may have studied the Talmud many times over, we need not feel so proud, for we still have not learned page one."

Never Betray A Confidence

The Gaon would always be collecting money for some poor family or person. When he was not learning, he would be seen walking from house to house raising money for the poor. He would never go alone for, in accordance with the Gemara (Baba Batra 8b), "Fundraisers must always be accompanied by another person."

Once, accompanied by a prominent member of the congregation, he visited a rich man's house to seek a donation for a wealthy person who had now become poor. A few thousand dollars was needed to put the man back on his feet.

Entering the house, they were cordially greeted and they were asked the reason for their presence.

Seeks Help

"We are seeking a few thousand dollars to help one of our rich people who has suffered adversity. We have you down for a donation of $500," said the gaon.

"Who is this person?" asked the host.

"I am sorry that I cannot reveal his identity," answered the Sanzer Rav. "But you can be assured that he is one of the prominent and respected persons in our community."

"I do not doubt your word," said the rich man, 'But I believe I should know who the man is if we are going to give him thousands of dollars. I will make a deal with you. If you will tell me his name, I will give you $1,000."

The man accompanying the Sanzer Rav became eager and he urged the gaon to reveal his name. But he refused, saying, "I cannot reveal his name. It would only embarrass him. He himself used to give a lot of charity."

"I will give you the entire sum you seek," said the rich man, "If you will reveal his name to me only. I wont repeat it to anybody."

The Sanzer Rav's collections partner was nearly jumping with excitement. "What harm could it do if we reveal it only to him? No one else will know about it," he begged.

But the Sanzer Rav refused. "A mans pride is more important than all the money in the world," he answered.

Rich Man Reveals Secret

The rich man was very impressed and he asked to speak to the gaon alone in another room. When they were alone, the rich man suddenly began to cry. "Rabi, I can't go on like this any longer," he sobbed. "I, too, have lost my fortune and I hide from my creditors every day. Were they to know of my circumstances, they would descend upon me like vultures. I even was ashamed to go to you lest other people would hear about it.

"Now I am convinced that you would never talk to anyone. Therefore, Rabi, please try and help me too with a loan to recoup my losses. Otherwise, I'll have to go from door to door to beg!"

Helps Both People

Rav Chaim Sanzer consoled the man and promised to help him. He never said a word to anyone, and when he raised sufficient funds for the first man, he again made the rounds of the rich people and raised money for the second man, too.

The story first came to light only after the death of the gaon, when the second rich man - who had again become wealthy - revealed his entire experience. And in tears, he blessed the departed saint for having saved his life.


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