| The Gift of Forgiveness |

Milk Money     

He wanted to right a wrong from more than 25 years prior


My father, Rav Avrohom Ginzberg ztz”l, was the executive vice president of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim of Queens for close to 60 years.

One day, a distinguished-looking man in his mid-thirties walked into his office, asking for Rabbi Ginzberg. When my father acknowledged that he was Rabbi Ginzberg, the man took out a checkbook and said he wanted to right a wrong from more than 25 years prior.

He explained that when he had been a high school student in the yeshivah, the rule was that every student was entitled to one small milk container for breakfast. But he liked milk, and on most days he helped himself to a second one.

He didn’t finish high school; instead he went to learn in Eretz Yisrael and had remained there. He was now married with children and serving as a rosh kollel in Bnei Brak. His elderly mother wasn’t well and he hadn’t seen her in years. This trip back to the States to visit her was his first opportunity to make amends for taking an extra milk each day so many years earlier, and he wanted to know how much he owed the yeshivah.

My father ztz”l, who didn’t remember this student, was incredibly moved by his sincerity and honesty. He said that while he would love to just be mochel him for taking the milk, the yeshivah’s money was mamon shel hekdesh and he had no right to be mochel on its behalf. However, there was no way to actually calculate the cost of the milk from so many years ago.

The man then proceeded to write the yeshivah a generous check and asked my father if he thought the amount would cover it. My father responded that it definitely did. He asked my father to verbalize that he was forgiven and requested that he ask the Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Henoch Leibowitz ztz”l, to please be mochel him as well.

When he left, my father had tears running down his cheeks. For months afterward, my father spoke about this encounter with the talmid of such a pure heart.


Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Zev Ginzberg is rav of the Chofetz Chaim Torah Center of Cedarhurst, the founding rabbi of Ohr Moshe Torah Institute in Hillcrest, Queens, and a popular author and lecturer. He and his wife are also the founders of Ohel Sarala, created as a zechus for the aliyas neshamah of their daughter Sarala a”h.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 877)

Oops! We could not locate your form.