Once the two Tzaddikim, R’ Yaacov Yosef of Polonye, the “Toldos”, and Reb Nachman of Horodenka, were travelling to Mezhibuzh to spend Shabbos with their Rebbe, the Ba’al ShemTov. It was Friday, and they set out from Polnoye with their horse and wagon in time to arrive in Mezhibuzh by midday.They hadn’t even travelled half the distance, when they saw ahead of them a broad regal carriage, trimmed with gold and ivory, and drawn by four white horses. Obviously it was the carriage a wealthy and important individual. It was making its way along the road leisurely, as if Shabbos wasn’t to be expected later in the day. Passing was impossible at this time of year due to the mountainous snowdrifts piled high along the both sides of the road. They had no choice but to slow down and to follow along behind.
The “Toldos” became very agitated and began to bewail the situation, predicting that they would surely have to profane the Shabbos if they wanted to spend Shabbos in Mezhibuzh. Reb Nachman however, kept calm, reminding his companion that everything would be okay, that all that Hashem does is for the best. Moreover, as disciples of the Baal ShemTov, they had learned that Hashem guides everything that occurs in the world, and therefore their situation was certainly Hashem’s hand at work.
Less than an hour passed before they had to come to a complete halt. Spread out on the road ahead as far as the eye could see was a company of Russian soldiers, and they were marching at pace that confirmed that their job this morning was to compact the mud of the road with their feet.
Now the “Toldos” became doubly agitated, not knowing who to lash out against first. But Reb Nachman assured him that everything in Hashem’s plans are for the ultimate good.
The commander of the company, seeing the regal looking coach coming his way, obviously recognized that a personage of some importance was inside and gave orders for the entire company to thin out and make passage for the dignitary and his “entourage”. In moments the two Tzaddikim, following close behind the carriage of the dignitary, were beyond the sea of soldiers, continuing on the road to Mezhibuzh.
Not more than a few more minutes passed until they came to a fork in the road. The dignitary in his coach went one direction, the Toldos and Reb Nachman the other. Regaining speed, they arrived in Mezhibuzh with ample time to prepare for Shabbos.