Contact Us

Undeserved Honors

Undeserved Honors

Ethics 4:1

 Email

Ben Zoma said: “Who is deserving of honor? The one who honors others!” (Avot 4:1)

Rabbi Akiva Eger was friends with the famous Rabbi Yaacov of Lissa, author of “Chavot Da'at,” for whom he had the greatest respect.

Rabbi Yaacov knew, however, that his friend Rabbi Akiva Eger was a much greater Torah scholar than himself.

On one occasion, the two of them had to go to Warsaw together for an important series of meetings with rabbis and Jewish leaders.

As their carriage drew near the city, a large crowd came out to greet them.

Everyone was anxious to honor these great scholars, but no one really knew what they looked like.

Then someone unhitched the horses, and everyone vied for the honor of pulling the wagon themselves.

Rabbi Akiva was sure that this great honor was being extended to his friend, Rabbi Yaacov, and so he slipped quietly out of the wagon in order to join the others who were pulling the carriage.

Almost at the same moment, Rabbi Yaacov also slipped out of the other side of the wagon, for he had no doubt that the good people of Warsaw had come to honor Rabbi Akiva Eger. Rabbi Yaacov had no desire for honor he did not deserve.

So he too joined the crowd in the street, and cheerfully helped pull the carriage with Rabbi Akiva in it.

Only when they reached the city did everyone realize that they were pulling a wagon without any passengers in it, for each of the rabbis had joined the crowd in extending honor to the Torah.

Courtesy of Tzivos Hashem.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining
Ethics of the Fathers is a tractate of the Mishna that details the Torah's views on ethics and interpersonal relationships. Enjoy insights, audio classes and stories on these fascinating topics.