Section: Stories   Category: Story Corner
Rav Gustman Courageously Accepts Defeat From His Talmidim
In his later years, Rav Yisroel Zev Gustman was a Rosh Yeshivah of a small yeshivah in Yerushalayim.  One day, one of the Rosh Yeshivah's talmidim who was engaged came to give R’ Gustman his wedding invitation and to request that he serve as his mesader Kiddushin.   R’ Gustman looked at the wedding invitation, and when he saw the date of the wedding, he regretfully informed his student that he would be unable to attend his wedding.  He would be with his family in Tzfas at that time, and the trip from Tzfas to Yerushalayim was too long for him to undertake.  

The bochur’s face fell, and he said, “How could it be that the Rosh Yeshivah won’t share in my simcha?  Plus, your absence will affect me – it will diminish the respect of my kallah’s family who may think that I don’t have a good relationship with you.”

Rav Gustman replied, “We have a problem.  You have your opinion and I have my opinion.  And when two Jews disagree, the Torah teaches us what to do.  We will set up a Beis Din which will hear both sides and we will agree to act according to what it decides.”

The bochur was astounded by this suggestion, but true to his word, R’ Gustman chose three “judges” from the yeshivah bochurim.  They listened to each side, and they paskened that the Rosh Yeshivah was not obligated by din to attend the chassana but it would be the proper thing for him to do to honor the chassan on his wedding day. The chassan was relieved and Rav Yisrael accepted the psak din with simcha.   

The day of the wedding, R’ Gustman prepared for the long trip from Tzefas to Yerushalayim.  His wife mentioned that the chassan had mentioned that R’ Gustman should travel by taxi on his account, which would make the trip much shorter and more pleasant.  However, R’ Gustman wouldn’t hear of it.  He said, “Chalila!  This is my obligation and it’s my responsibility to travel to the chassuna on my own account.  This is what was paskened in a Din Torah!”

His wife replied, “But to travel by bus back and forth is so exhausting.  How will you do it?”

“This was a psak din and I’ll fulfill it with all my strength, even if I spend the entire day doing it and I need to rest the entire day tomorrow!” replied the Rav.   (L'Orum Neilech)