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3 Teves 5778 - December 21, 2017 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Maran HaRav Shteinman zt"l Hardly Ate

by Dei'ah Vedibur Staff

Maran HaRav A.Y.L. Shteinman zt"l

After dozens of years during which Maran did not eat bread during the week but only on Shabbos and Yom Tov, it happened in 5773, when he was already approaching his hundredth year, that due to his weakness, the doctors felt that he should eat bread during the week as well.

But when it came to actual practice, the Rosh Yeshiva deliberated if it would necessitate a hatoras nedarim, an absolvement of an oath, since he had abstained from eating bread for so long. He felt that the less physicality, the better, as a practice, for after a person dies, his body suffers in the grave for every meal that was not a mitzvah meal. For this reason, if he wanted to begin eating bread again, it may require the hatoras nedarim. He also added that in order to eat bread, he would have to wash his hands, and performing this mitzvah in all of its halachic fine details was not a simple matter. He therefore said he preferred not to get involved to begin with.

* * *

Maran was in doubt whether one who was accustomed to say Bircas Hamozone only on Shabbos and Yom Tov (as he was), would thus be in the habit of saying Retzei automatically whenever he bentched. Therefore, if he were uncertain whether he had said Retzei, he may not have to repeat the Bircas Hamozone, since his habit was to say Retzei.

* * *

The Rosh Yeshiva testified personally that he cannot remember a single time when he ate cake except for maybe one time on Purim. The only time he made the mezonos blessing was over his breakfast cereal which he ate for pas shacharis.

* * *

There was a period in recent years when he sufficed with the bare minimum of food. When his family tried to make him eat a bit more, he would say, "Why are you pushing me? Don't you know that for every extra, unnecessary measure of physical pleasure in this world one suffers in the grave?"

* * *

In the stories of his life that we published last week, we noted that this was a really longstanding approach of his. Even back in World War II when he was in a labor camp in Switzerland he did not eat all the food he was given, but shared it with his fellows.


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