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Section: Stories   Category: Gedolim Biographies
Rav Yosef Engel - A Modern Day Solomon
Rav Yosef Engel was born in 1859.  He rose to become the head of the Bais Din in Cracow.  He earned acclaim as being a genius who was fluent in all avenues of Torah including Kabbalah and Chassidus.  He wrote many seforim which became very popular in the Yeshiva world.  In one sefer Ayin Panim LaTorah, he gives 70 answers to a single question.  He is most famous for his sefer of chakiros in Shas called Asvan D'Oiraisa.  He wrote many other seforim as well.

When it became clear that some of the Jewish butchers were selling Treif meat due to their inability to bare the loss of the animal and having to sell it for an unreasonably low price to a goy, he came up with a novel idea to solve the problem.  He arranged a partnership between Jewish and non-Jewish butchers in which the non-Jewish butcher would receive a portion of the profits from the Jewish butcher and in return the non-Jewish butcher would buy all the Treif animals for fair market price. 

After instituting this arrangement, he wrote a Hechsher and on it he wrote, "HaKasher Shebitabachim Shutofo Shel Amaleik", the most kosher of the butchers is a partner with Amaleik.  Insulted the Jewish butchers came running to him about this derogatory comment.  He explained that if a Jewish butcher is a partner of Amaleik, his meat is most kosher because he has no reason to pass off treif meat on the Jews!

One time two women came to him fighting over a pile of laundry.  One claimed it was all hers while the other said that half of it was hers.  The laundry had lady died and the children were in a quandary about who to return it to.  They went to Rav Yosef.  After listening to each side he asked them to leave the laundry overnight by him while he thinks it over.  After they left, he ask members of his family to add a few articles of laundry to the pile.  When the women returned the next day he asked the woman who claimed to own all the laundry to take a good look and make sure everything belonged to her.  She studied each article and declared that it was all hers. He then asked the woman who said that half was hers to identify her clothing and put it on the side.  He then told the woman claiming to own the whole pile what he had done.  All confused and embarrassed the woman confessed.  Such was the genius of Rav Yosef Engel.  (Gedolei HaDoros)

Rav Yosef Engel was niftar in 1920 at the age of 61.  Yehi Zichro Boruch!
RELATED ARTICLES:biography  Rav Yosef Engel

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