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rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  ( has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.

I’m sure that all of us consider ourselves relatively considerate towards others. However, how far are we willing to go to help someone else out? Especially someone that we barely know? Last week, I heard a great Sukkot story that really sets the bar in this area.

There was once a Jew in Bnei Brak who was searching for a lulav at the numerous different lulav sellers in the city. He went from seller to seller, looked through hundreds of lulavim, and after several hours was still not able to find one to his liking. Suddenly, he noticed the famous rabbi, Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky zt”l (who was known as the Steipler), coming to buy a lulav. He followed the Steipler and watched as he stopped at one seller, looked for a few minutes at several lulavim, found one, paid and turned to go home.

The Jew was amazed, what a miracle! Here he had looked for several hours and couldn’t find anything, yet the Steipler looked for several minutes and found one right away! As he was walking home he bumped into the Steipler’s grandson and told him about the miracle he saw with his grandfather earlier that day. The grandson responded, “If you think that was incredible, just meet me at the Steipler’s house tonight and I’ll show you something even more incredible!”

That night he met the Steipler’s grandson and together they entered the Steipler’s house. He took him into a side room and there he showed him 2 barrels full of lulavim. “Do you know what all of these lulavim are for?” asked the grandson. “When my grandfather looks for a lulav, and sees lulavim that are not to his liking, he nonetheless still takes a lulav and pays for it to prevent rumors that this seller doesn’t have nice lulavim; if the Steipler didn’t see anything good here then this seller must not have good merchandise, and no one will buy from him and will cause him great loss. Afterwards, my grandfather brings the lulav home and puts it in this barrel until he finds “the one”. The lulav he bought today went with many others into this barrel. In the meantime, that seller can publicize that the Steipler bought a lulav from him and it will help this fellow’s business.

This is the truly amazing wonder- the Steipler buys lulavim not to use, but rather, just so that he doesn’t cause damage and hurt a fellow Jew. From this we can learn what it truly means to be considerate of others.