The Jewish Eye
Pirkei Avos: Was Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin Too Lavish?
When Rav Meir Shapiro went collecting money to build the majestic building of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin which was unparalleled in beauty and comforts in the history of Yeshivos, one of the potential donors complained to him that the Mishna in Pirkei Avos (6:4) demands of talmidei chachomim "Pas Bamelach Toichal"; you shall subsist on bread and salt.
Rav Shapiro answered that although it says "Eved Loivah L'Ish Malveh"; a debtor is a slave to his creditor, nevertheless the torah teaches us halachos that demand of the creditor to treat the debtor with tremendous respect. The debtor must act with one attitude and the creditor with another. So too, although the torah tells those who want to acquire torah that they must be willing to live life with only the bare basics, nevertheless when talking to the donors the torah promises "Eitz Chaim He LaMachazikim Ba, V'Somcheha MiUshar", the torah is a tree of life and whoever supports yeshivos without deciding how much is enough, will be blessed with good fortune and happiness. (Likutei Basar Likutei)
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