Harav Shomo Levinstein spoke on Motzei Shabbos prior to the weekly shiur of Harav Yitzchak Yosef, which takes place every week in Yerushalayim, and told an amazing story about an American Jew who denigrated HaRav Ovadia Yosef 30 years ago one Purim when he was intoxicated.
“I received a letter last week from America from my friend Harav Ben-Tzion Sneh of Monsey,” Harav Levenstein began. “He sent me a letter that he received from someone who suffered from a terrible intestinal disease to the point that he fainted from the pain. Even the doctors couldn’t explain it and there were no medical findings. He reached a point of being in a worrisome emotional state.”
“He made a wedding for one of his children before Purim last year and he was worried that he would suffer an attack of pain in the middle of the wedding. Sure enough, he had an attack during the Kabbalas Panim and they had to push off the chuppah for an hour until he could stand on his feet. At the chuppah, he cried to Hashem: ‘Ribbono Shel Olam, what You do want from me? Tell me!’”
“A few days later, on Purim, he davened before he went to sleep that in the zechus of Mordechai and Esther and the great salvation that occurred on Purim, Hashem should tell him what He wants from him.”
“That night he dreamed that the word ‘מעיים’ (intestines) is the acronym for ‘Maran Ovadia Yosef Macheh Timcheh.’ The dream brought him back 30 years prior when he belonged to an extreme sect that opposes Zionism. He had gone to Eretz Yisrael to learn and was surrounded by friends with similar strident views about Zionism. When Purim came, they drank and danced and when they were quite drunk, they sang the song: ‘Macheh Timcheh es zecher Amalek‘ and in place of the name Amalek, rachmana litztlan, they said the name of Maran.”
“When the man woke up in the morning he felt extremely disturbed although he coud not recall the incident. He called one of his Rabbanim to find out what to do. The Rav instructed him to go to the kever with ten men, like the halacha says, and ask for mechila.
“However, due to the coronavirus, the man couldn’t come to Israel so the Rav told him to pay ten men to daven at the kever for him. Meanwhile, the man connected to the tefillah via phone. He took off his shoes, sat on the floor, and accompanied by copious weeping, davened for mechila.”
“The Rav also instructed him to buy Rav Ovadia’s sefarim for shuls and batei midrashim where it was needed and when people will learn them, it will be a kapara for him.”
The Rishon L’Tzion Hagaon Rav Yitzchak Yosef remarked on the story at the beginning of his shiur: “This is a wonderful story. We see that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is Erech Apayim. He waited 30 years for the man to do teshuvah. When he didn’t do teshuvah he had terrible pains until he asked mechila and everything passed.”
“How careful we need to be regarding Kavod Chachamim. There’s no refuah for someone who denigrates a Talmid Chacham. How horrible for there to be a choleh and there’s no refuah for him. We must be extremely careful in these matters.”