An intriguing story about the power of forgiveness has been making the rounds in Israel in recent days.
The story began several weeks ago. The protagonist, a 38-year-old man named D. who is hard of hearing, was a passenger on a bus in the Chareidi kiryah in Ashdod.
D., who had recently drawn closer to Yiddishkeit, covered his head with a cap and was also wearing work clothes. One of the bus passengers who was a bit tense about the current terror wave noticed D.’s dark complexion and his clothing and cap that were a bit different than the norm. Not realizing D. was hard of hearing, he also thought his behavior seemed strange and suspected he was an Arab about to carry out a terror attack.
He told other passengers about his suspicion and a commotion ensued near D., who didn’t even notice the tumult due to his hearing impairment. The passengers then approached the driver and told him about the “suspicious” bus passenger. The driver stopped the bus, approached D. and after speaking to him briefly, it became clear that the passengers had made a mistake.
D. was understandably very hurt and embarrassed by the incident and told the other passengers that he’s not moichel them. The passengers tried to apologize and appease him but he remained agitated and upset and continued to repeat that he’s not moichel them.
One of the passengers who was on the bus later called HaGaon HaRav Chaim Feinstein, Rosh Yeshivas Ateres Shlomo, and told him about the incident and asked him what to do. The Rosh Yeshivah asked to speak with D. personally.
The man found D. and after telling him that one of the Gedeolei HaDor wants to speak to him, D. agreed to meet the Rosh Yeshivah after Shacharis at the yeshivah. The next morning, HaRav Feinstein sat with the man for a long time and spoke with him, taking an interest in his life. After finding out that D. was still single and very much wanted to get married, the Rosh Yeshivah explained to him that if he removed his kapida against people, Hakadosh Baruch Hu would remove the kapida against him and the gates of zivugim will open up for him. The Rosh Yeshivah added that when the gates of zivugim in Shamayim open up, things move quickly. The man accepted the Rosh Yeshivah’s words and stated that he forgives the passengers who suspected him of being a terrorist.
As D. was on his way out of the yeshiva, he met an avreich who happened to be driving to Ashdod and was happy to give him a ride home. As they made conversation on the ride home, it dawned on the avreich that D. would be the perfect shidduch for his wife’s sister, who was also an older single who recently became closer to Yiddishkeit. Additionally, she also suffered from a medical issue and wouldn’t be deterred by D.’s hearing impairment.
On Motzei Rosh Hashanah, the l’chayim was celebrated at the Rosh Yeshivah’s home in Bnei Brak.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)