Once Rabbi Samson of Shepetivka, went to see Rabbi Ezekiel Landau, the great sage and chief rabbi of Prague, to discuss matters of scholarship. The two rabbis had never met before. Rabbi Samson approached Rabbi Ezekiel in disguise, dressed as a beggar, asking for alms. Rabbi Ezekiel, who was a very busy man, treated Rabbi Samson very rudely, whereupon Rabbi Samson said, “How can you, a sage and a religious leader, treat a poor person in this fashion? You should rise at my presence, and you should respond to my needs, for God’s Presence stands at my side. As it is written: God stands at the right hand of the needy to save them from those who would condemn them.” (Psalms 109:31) [Edited for gender neutrality]
1. Why did Rabbi Samson dress in disguise? How was this a test of Rabbi Ezekiel? 2. How did Rabbi Samson reprimand Rabbi Ezekiel? Do you agree? 3. Why are people in power often reluctant to help the needy? How can we fight this tendency?
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)