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"And the people believed, and they heard that Hashem had remembered the Children of Israel and that He saw their affliction, and they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves" (Shemos 4:31).
My daughter, Bela Sarah, told me a fantastic story which she heard from Rabbi Shlomo Levenstein shlita, a few day s ago.
A young man approached Reb Shlomo and told him that he had gone for tests, and that the doctors had discovered that he had Cancer, R.L. The tests were repeated several times, and other tests were taken, with the hope that the previous findings would be rejected; but to no avail.
This particular young man happens to enjoy a rare, close relationship with HaGaon, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky shlita. In his despair, the fellow went to visit the Sage and told him that he was thinking of traveling to Meron, to pray by the holy gravesite of Rabi Shim'on bar Yochai z.y.o. Reb Chaim agreed that it was a good idea but asked the fellow if he remembers when the Rabbi had last visited his home. He said that he surely did. It had been 8 years ago and it was not an incident one would easily forget.
The young man's wife had been deeply insulted by some other member of the kolel. She was very angry and kept a grudge against him. Time went by, and that other fellow and his wife were not blessed with children. Reb Chaim realized that it was the anger of this young man's wife which was preventing the other couple from bearing fruit. He wasted no time and personally went to his house and asked to speak with his wife. Reb Chaim explained the situation to her and asked her to forgive the man who had insulted her.
"I cannot forgive him," she replied obstinately. "He hurt me very deeply and I hold a very strong grudge against him."
Reb Chaim tried very hard to appease her and to explain to her how much her anger was hurting the other couple, but to no avail. The woman wouldn't budge. Finally, the Rabbi decided to use even stronger tactics. He told her that he wants her to take a piece of paper and write on it that she totally forgives the man who had caused her so much anguish. She said, "I can write it, if you wish. But I cannot mean it." Reb Chaim explained that what he had actually meant was that she work on herself so much until she is able to remove all ill feelings towards the perpetrator and can even sign a document affirming that this was the case.
How much can one resist the incessant pleadings of one of the greatest Torah Leaders of our generation? Eventually she succumbed and signed the paper. Reb Chaim had a copy made, took the original with him and told her and her husband to save the copy.
Now, eight years later, Reb Chaim asked the young man if he still had the copy. "Of course," he replied. "Then take it with you to Meron," Reb Chaim advised, "and plead with Hashem for your health. Then hold the piece of paper in your hand and say, 'Hashem. If some evil decree was meant for me, please annul it, in the merit of this document which bears witness that my wife annulled her anger against someone else, in order to do Your will.'"
On Friday, Erev Shabbos Parashas Vayigash (just a few weeks ago), the young man went to Meron and did as he was told. The following Monday, he returned to the hospital and asked the doctors to examine him again. To their utter amazement, there were absolutely no signs of the terrible sickness! It was as if it had never been there at all.
Rabbi Levenstein added, "What if someone had told this fellow's wife, eight years ago, that her husband will one day be deathly ill and she can save him by forgiving the guy who hurt her? Then, she surely would have agreed immediately. Our devotion to Hashem requires us to believe, even when no one tells us so, that being kind to those who hurt us will bring us life and blessings and happiness."
Let's try it.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network