Rabbi Yisroel Besser, Contributing Editor of Mishpacha Magazine and author of several best-selling books, shared the following story he heard from a Lubavitcher chossid. He told COLlive.com he vouches for the story as the chossid asked to remain anonymous:
This Lubavitcher chossid was traveling to his family in the Catskills for Shabbos. It was Friday and he left a little later than he was planning to and found himself in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Route 17. He played with the different routes on Waze, but realized that his entire trip was completely backed up and making it to the country for Shabbos would be tight.
Suddenly, an accident sprang up in front of him, making the route even more impossible than before. He realized that there was no way for him to make it to the mountains for Shabbos. He turned off the highway on Route 130 and started making his way to Kiryas Yoel for Shabbos.
He called his wife and children and told them the disappointing news, all while driving straight to the main shul in town in order to make it in time for Shabbos.
With no clothing or plans, he davened Mincha, Kabbolas Shabbos, and Maariv with the community. He then and lingered afterwards as people began to leave. One Satmar chossid approached and engaged in conversation with him, asking where he was from and where he would be eating that night.
When the Lubavitcher replied that he had no plans, the Satmar chossid invited him to be his guest for Shabbos.
They had beautiful seudos together, with lots of singing and divrei Torah, enjoying each other’s company. On Motzoei Shabbos, the Lubavitcher chossid remarked, “I have to tell you something amazing. When I was a bochur, I came to Monroe on a Thursday night to teach Tanya. After gathering some people to learn with, a few Satmar men came and kicked me. One guy even picked up a bench and hit me with it.”
The Lubavitcher continued, “Now, you so graciously invited me for Shabbos and we spent the whole time talking about Chassidus. Previously, I felt such a clash between Satmar and Lubavitch, but now I feel like we are brothers! What a long way we have come!”
The host looked at his guest and asked him to repeat what had happened to him.
The Lubavitcher related again that he had come to teach Tanya, but had been asked to leave. When he refused, a man picked up a bench and hit him.
Tears filled the host’s eyes and he said, “I am the one who picked up that bench. Three times a day for the past 15 years, I davened to the Ribbono Shel Olam to send me the person so that I can do teshuva.”
“Are you moichel me?” he asked.
Needless to say, the Lubavitcher said that he forgives him.