伊西和霍华德在犹太社区中是众所皆知的恶霸, 他们经营不正当的生意,他们撒谎,欺压穷人。但他们却非常、非常富有。

伊西死后,霍华德去找拉比布鲁姆,说:”我知道你将主持我哥哥的丧礼, 我也知道你的犹太会堂正为一件慈善公益活动筹募一笔巨款, 如果你在葬礼上说我哥哥伊西是个义人,我就捐给犹太会堂一百万美元。”

拉比有点踌躇地回答说 “这… 让我先想想吧!”回到家, 拉比对自己的太太抱怨说恶名昭彰的霍华德今天来会堂提出这万分不合理的要求. 他说 “我岂能说这样的话得罪 神呢? 但有了这一百万捐款, 会堂要进行的公益活动就有着落了, 我该怎么办呢…”拉比太太也不知道该怎么做, 就说, “愿 神赐给你智慧, 让你知道该如何处理吧!”

到了葬礼的时候,霍华德坐在家属席的最前排, 给拉比使了个眼色. 拉比缓缓上了台清了清喉咙说, “今天我们聚集在这里是为了送别伊西, 大家知道伊西经营不正当的生意, 为人不诚实, 爱撒谎又欺压穷人, 实在不能被称为 ‘义人’, 但与他弟弟霍华德相较之下- 他是个义人!”

Issy and Howard were brothers disliked by the entire community. They ran a crooked business, they lied, and they cheated the poor. But they were also very, very wealthy.

After Issy’s death, Howard went to Rabbi Bloom and said, “I understand that you will be officiating at my brother’s funeral, and that your synagogue is raising a large sum of money for a charitable benefit. Now, I will donate a million dollars to the synagogue if you will say at the funeral that my brother Issy was a mensch*.

The rabbi replied hesitantly, “Let me think about it first!” Returning home, the rabbi complained to his wife about Howard’s visit and his most unreasonable request. The Rabbi said, “How could I say such a thing to offend God?” On the other hand, with this $1 million donation, the congregation will be able to carry out its charitable activities…” His wife didn’t know what to do either, so she said, “May God grant you wisdom and know what to do!”

When the time came for the funeral, Howard sat in the front row and gave the rabbi a wink. The rabbi came up slowly, cleared his throat, and said, “We are gathered here today to bid farewell to Issy, who, as you know, ran a crooked business, was dishonest, lied and cheated the poor. He could not be called a mensch but compared to his brother Howard – he was a mensch!”

*mensch in Hebrew means “a person of integrity and honor“)

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