The Crown of a Good Name

Friday, 12 May, 2023 - 3:17 pm

Many people spend a lifetime crafting an image and creating a legacy for themselves, by which they wish to be remembered. A lot of thought goes into every “positive” thing that they do. The timing, the optics, and opportunity for maximum exposure are all considered.

And then there are those who just go about their day and leave a lasting impact on those around them.

Ethics of Our Fathers (4:13) states: Rabbi Shimon says: There are three crowns—the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood and the crown of sovereignty—but the crown of good name surmounts them all.

The “crown of a good name” does not need a lot of explanation. You know it when you encounter it. A person who possesses it is the type to leave you with a positive feeling following an interaction with them.

This week our family mourns the loss of a young relative, my 40-year-old cousin, Eli Baitelman, of Los Angeles. Eli served as a Chabad Rabbi for many years and then transitioned over to the business world to become a contractor. While he may have switched hats, he didn’t switch crowns. The “crown of a good name” followed him wherever he went. He was the same source of kindness and blessing to whomever he encountered.

He would share an encouraging word. He would speak to Jewish customers or business associates about holidays and Jewish practices. He put on Tefillin with Jewish subs, clients, and site inspectors. Needy families were the beneficiaries of his generous approach to business.

At his funeral, in addition to family, friends, and community members, a large contingent of his loyal employees participated, openly demonstrating their emotions over the passing of their “boss.” He gave them opportunities to support their families and treated them with kindness and respect.

“The crown of a good name surmounts them all.”

But there is a grieving family trying to come to terms with this tremendous loss. His young wife, seven children; his mother, siblings, and extended family. We do not know why Hashem would take a person at this young age, but we do know that we must step up and help where we can. A fund was set up to assist his family as they navigate this overwhelming challenge. Please join me in generously contributing at

May Hashem bring them strength and comfort in these difficult times. Even better, may Hashem put an end to the suffering by ushering in the era of Redemption when, “those who dwell in the dust will arise and sing” and be reunited with their loved ones once again.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Comments on: The Crown of a Good Name
There are no comments.