Nutkeh (Part 2)

After the wedding, Rav Zundel agreed to support Nutkeh so he would be able to learn. Support in those days was one meal a day, known as kest.

Every day R’ Nutkeh would come home to his meal, but his wife would never eat with him. She always had a different excuse why she wasn’t hungry.

One day, R’ Nutkeh was in the beis medrash and he overheard a conversation (that was probably meant for him to hear).

“Who does he think he is? R’ Zundel has no food for himself, and he has to support Nutkeh!”

Now R’ Nutkeh understood why his wife never ate. There was nothing for her to eat!

R’ Nutkeh went straight to R’ Zundel’s house and told him he no longer wants the kest. R’ Zundel asked if something was wrong with the meals. “No, I just can’t eat when you have nothing for yourself.”

R’ Zundel replied that R’ Nutkeh’s meal was not part of the cheshbon of the family at all. He then called in his wife to explain.

“Right now,” she explained, “the way we make a living is by making and selling vinegar. When you got married, R’ Zundel told me to take another barrel and fill it with water, and that will become vinegar for us to sell in order to support you.”

“If so,” asked R’ Nutkeh, “why isn’t there enough for my wife as well?”

R’ Zundel told him that it’s only for someone learning Torah.

When Rav Aharon told this story, there were talmidim that were surprised that he would tell over a mofes as this is not the litvishe tradition. But, R’ Aharon never told over a story without having the facts precisely accurate.

Additionally, my grandmother personally heard from Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky that the litvishe gedolim are able to perform the same mofsim as chasidish gedolim, however, they choose not to.

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