Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
There was once a man who owned a successful store in the outdoor market in central Jerusalem. The rent for the area was very high, but the prime location, along with the amount of business he received, was worth it.
One day, Hashem wanted to do this man a big favor, so He had someone else open a store similar to his right across the street. Even though in truth, a person cannot touch that which is not his, our dear store owner watched his sales dwindle, while the rent still remained high. Finally, his expenditures exceeded his income; at this rate, he would lose everything.
The man went to Rabbi Beniahu Shmueli, may Hashem bless him, and told him his entire story, including the details of his diminishing income and the new competitor. The merchant was seething with anger and frustration.
Rabbi Shmueli said to him, “What has happened to you? Hashem did this to you – it’s for the good! It’s not the other guy, it’s Hashem!”
The merchant couldn’t accept this and protested, “What?!? Hashem? It’s not Hashem, it’s him!” However, he did have a bit of faith in Rabbi Shmueli, and asked, “What should I do?”
Rabbi Shmueli said, “Everything is for the good. Close your store here, and open it somewhere else where the rent is lower. You may not get what you’re used to, but at least you will have an income. Accept this decree with love.”
The merchant left angry and vexed, but he really had no choice, so he re-opened his store in a cheaper area, not far from Meah Shearim. Above the new store, a lonely old woman lived. The merchant realized that she was indeed lonely and took pity on her. He began to give her food and help with chores that were difficult for her. He became like a son and did everything for her, expecting nothing in return.
One day the old lady asked him to come upstairs because she wanted to tell him something. He was tired after a long work day, so he contemplated refusing her, but in the end he went up to her apartment. The lady began to tell him the story of her life, how she became a widow and lost her only son. Impatient, the merchant kept looking at his watch. The elderly woman said, “Stop looking at your watch! A little bit more patience. You have given me so much of your life - all I am asking for is one more hour…”
Then the woman got to the point. Her uncle passed away and bequeathed her five million dollars. Since she had no heirs, and since she saw how he was the only one that cared about her, she decided to bequeath the entire sum to him. She only asked that he buy a room in a yeshiva that would be in merit of her soul, and that there would always be learning in that room.
The merchant returned to Rabbi Shmueli to buy the room in his yeshiva. Rabbi Shmueli said, “Didn’t you tell me you were losing everything?”
The merchant told the Rabbi the whole story. He realized that by virtue of following the Rabbi’s advice, he merited tremendous wealth.
“You see,” said Rabbi Shmueli, “everything is for the best! When we’re being tested, we don’t understand what’s happening to us and why. Therefore, we must toss out our logic and cling to emuna that everything is for the best. We must praise Hashem wholeheartedly, and say ‘Thank you Hashem that you gave me a good income for so many years, and thank you now for prodding me to move somewhere else.’ Just be happy all the time, because a person must nullify his will before Hashem’s Will, joyfully and wittingly.”