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Letting go of resentments

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GYE Admin Monday, 26 September 2016

The work Ner Le'ragli tells the story of a certain student in Yeshivat Kenesset Yisrael of Slobodka who spread false, uncomplimentary information about a fellow student, whom we will call Yosef. The lashon ha'ra he spoke caused Yosef to lose a prospective shidduch opportunity. Yosef remained unmarried until the time when the Russian army began conscripting single men into its army, and so Yosef was drafted. He endured several years of suffering under the harsh conditions of the Russian military.

Many years later, the boy who spread the false rumors was overcome by guilt, realizing that he had caused Yosef untold suffering and hardship. He did not have the courage to directly ask Yosef for forgiveness, so he wrote a letter to the Alter of Slobodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, explaining what he had done and asking that the Rabbi convey to Yosef his request for forgiveness. The Rabbi approached Yosef and told him what the other student had done many years earlier, ruining an outstanding shidduch opportunity and causing him to be drafted.

"No problem," Yosef calmly said. "I completely forgive him."

The Rabbi found it difficult to believe that Yosef was truly sincere, and so he said, "Are you sure, after everything you've gone through, that you have no ill feelings towards him?"

"Yes," Yosef firmly stated. "I believe with complete faith that everything that happened to me was Hashem's will, and that nobody could break a shidduch or send me to the Russian army besides Hashem. And if He did it, then it must have been the best thing for me, and so I am happy about it."

The Rabbi kissed Yosef's head and said, "You are a true tzaddik."

Responding to adversity with emunah makes us great. As the Hafetz Haim said, it raises us to the highest spiritual levels and makes us worthy of all the blessings Hashem has in store for us.