Sunday, May 18, 2008

Old Fashioned Chillul Shabbos

R' Binyomin Yehuda Miller, in the '30s and '40s a rabbi in Schenectady, New York, once encountered a congregant with a bandaged hand. Inquiring as to the source of this injury, the rabbi was surprised when his congregant said, "No, rabbi, I'm embarrassed to tell you!" The rabbi insisted, and the congregant responded, "Well, rabbi, on Shabbos I was out smoking a cigar, and I noticed you walking up the street. You hadn't yet seen me, but you were about to. I was ashamed to be caught smoking on Shabbos, so I covered the cigar in the palm of my hand, and I held it like that until you passed. So the bandage is from the burn I suffered..."

Chazal said about this story (Berachos 12b): "Rabbah son of Chin'na Sabba said in Rav's name: One who performs a sin and is embarrassed of it is forgiven for all his sins..."

(I heard the story from Rabbi Miller's grandson.)


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