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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Cutting corners will come back to bite you

Daf Yomi Yevamos 51

With the subprime mortgage housing market crash of 2007, house prices in Las Vegas dropped about seventy percent.  A friend of mine bought an investment property that had been built in 2005 which the owners had simply walked away from, being that the home was worth much less than they owed the bank.   Six months after he bought it, however, he realized it wasn’t the metziah (find) he initially thought it to be.  Seems the builders were going crazy that year to put up as many houses in the shortest time possible and they’d cut corners.  Now they were facing a class-action lawsuit for structural issues that they’d overlooked.

Rabba the son of Rabbi Huna offered the following case in the name of Rav:  There were three sisters married to three of five brothers.  The husbands all died, leaving the three widows to perform the yibum (levirate marriage) with the two surviving brothers.   However, they are unable to marry the women since they are sisters and one may not marry sisters.  Therefore they must perform chalitzah (the annulment of the levirate marriage).  Thus, each brother does chalitzah with one of the widows and the third widow must do chalitzah with both of them.

Why?  Chalitzah is meant to be an option instead of yibum.  In this case, yibum is not an option and so chalitzah is the only choice and therefore considered deficient.  When the chalitzah is deficient, one must run around to all the brothers to take care of the matter (and not just do the service with one of them).

Whenever a matter is deficient – you fail to completely address it and deal with it properly initially – you end up having to run around later to take care of the matter.   The Las Vegas builders were trying to pump out as much product as they could without any concern for the consequences of not doing a proper job and now they have to run around trying to fix their mess.

Don’t do things deficiently; it doesn’t pay in the long run!  Maybe it’s a project at work that you just want to get over and done with and move on to the next thing.   Don’t do it, don’t cut corners!  In the long run, you’ll end up needing to do more work to fix things because you failed to do it right to begin with.

Maybe it’s your relationship with your spouse.  You think you can just keep her happy by buying her nice things and not pulling your weight around the house and not being for there for her emotionally.  In marriage, there’s no cutting corners!  Eventually it will come back to haunt you when the bonds of your marriage aren’t strong enough to withstand a real crisis. 

Maybe it’s your relationship with your teenage children.   You think that you can reward them monetarily for certain behaviours like not drinking or smoking.  But do you really know what they’re doing when you’re not around?   Financial incentives are mere corner-cutters that will eventually blow up in your face.  You need to develop a deep, trusting relationship with you child and resolve the issues in a meaningful way.


When you act in a deficient manner, it never works in the long run.  Make sure that you are doing a wholesome job today and you will never have to come back later to pick up the pieces!