A problem resulting from one of life’s bitter tragedies, resembling the problem brought before King Solomon, which brought him recognition as the wisest of men, was presented to one of the Rabbis here.
In the village G-, in the vicinity of Vilna, two sisters secretly concluded an agreement six years ago. One of the sisters was married, but had no children; the other was unmarried, but was about to become a mother. Upon the suggestion of the married sister a solution to the situation was found in an arrangement, whereby the unmarried sister was to register in one of the Vilna hospitals under the name of her married sister and when the child was born, it should be declared the child of the married sister.
After six years, the married sister became a widow. The other having in the meantime been married to a wealthy man, revealed her secret to here husband, her maternal feelings having been awakened, she decided to reclaim her child. Her sister, the widow, refused to return the child, because she cared for it and loved it. Both the mother and the aunt decided to submit the case to a Rabbi.
The Rabbi, having before him as precedent the famous judgment of King Solomon, after careful consideration, decided to take an opposite course of justice. His verdict was that the child should be left with its aunt and not returned to its mother. In explaining the motive of his verdict, the Rabbi stated, “The mother showed extreme egotism. For her own personal convenience she renounced the child and for her own convenience she would now reclaim it, even at the risk of revealing the illegitimacy of the child. The aunt acted with extreme unselfishness in taking the child and in caring for it. The child therefore shall belong to its aunt.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.