Reb Elchonon Wasserman Insists on Door to Door Service
While in New York fundraising, Reb Elchonon Wasserman's host offered to give him a ride to his meeting in Mid-Manhattan. Although Reb Elchonon was not one to take favors at the expense of others, he agreed, since the host also needed to go the vicinity of Reb Elchonon's destination.
As they got close to the building where Reb Elchonon's meeting was to take place, the host pointed out the building, and suggested that Reb Elchonon get off at the corner since the building was very close and the traffic situation made it not really worthwhile to go around the block.
Reb Elchonon politely told the driver that he should take him around the block to the front door. The driver was quite taken aback at this shocking out of character demand of the noble and gracious figure that he knew Reb Elchonon to be. Reb Elchonon explained to him the Chazal tell us, "המתחיל במצוה אומרים לו גמור", when someone starts a mitzva we tell him to finish. Chazal, explained Reb Elchonon, were not only talking to the person who started the mitzva but also to the people around him as well. Chazal said that there is an obligation to "tell him to complete it". Despite running contrary to Reb Elchonon's personal nature, Reb Elchonon forced himself to fulfill his own personal obligation by telling the driver to finish his mitzva!
Important Note: Stories are not checked for factual accuracy and are told as heard and remembered through the generations. It is the lesson that can be learned from the stories that we strive to pass on.