伊西死後，霍華德去找拉比布魯姆，說：”我知道你將主持我哥哥的喪禮, 我也知道你的猶太會堂正為一件慈善公益活動籌募一筆巨款, 如果你在葬禮上說我哥哥伊西是個義人，我就捐給猶太會堂一百萬美元。”
拉比有點躊躇地回答說 “這… 讓我先想想吧!”回到家, 拉比對自己的太太抱怨說惡名昭彰的霍華德今天來會堂提出這萬分不合理的要求. 他說 “我豈能說這樣的話得罪 神呢? 但有了這一百萬捐款, 會堂要進行的公益活動就有著落了, 我該怎麼辦呢…”拉比太太也不知道該怎麼做, 就說, “願 神賜給你智慧, 讓你知道該如何處理吧!”
到了葬禮的時候，霍華德坐在家屬席的最前排, 給拉比使了個眼色. 拉比緩緩上了台清了清喉嚨說, “今天我們聚集在這裡是為了送別伊西, 大家知道伊西經營不正當的生意, 為人不誠實, 愛撒謊又欺壓窮人, 實在不能被稱為 ‘義人’, 但與他弟弟霍華德相較之下- 他是個義人！”
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“