The Rov’s Salary

On the request of Gruzinian Jewry, the Rebbe Rashab delegated Rav Shmuel Levitin to serve as their first Chief Rabbi. Till then, they had been lead by Hachamim. In detailing the rampant ignorance of Georgian Jews concerning Judaism, the Rebbe mentions in his letters that their Hachamim barely understood a paragraph of Kitzur Shulchon Oruch.

Their ignorance was not limited to Yiddishkeit. In fact, Georgian Jews were very primitive and uneducated in general as this story is about to demonstrate.

As noon approached on his first Friday there, Rav Levitin was surprised that he did not yet receive his weekly salary as was customary then. He gathered together the lay leaders of the kehillah in the capital Tbilisi and demanded an explanation. The natives innocently explained: “We thought Rabbis are Malachim and don’t eat…”

That same day, they handed his salary along with a thousand or so apologies. Ever since, his salary came to him weekly without further incident.


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