In the town of Anipoli there were two Rabbis, R’ Zusia the Chassid and the town Rav, a Misnagged. R’ Zusia was always happy despite the fact that he had nothing but troubles; poverty and ill-health. The Rav on the other hand, despite his honorable position in the community was always unhappy, depressed, bitter and angry. He couldn’t bear others, nor even himself.
One night, bitter and frustrated he went to ask R’ Zusia for help. He sneaked out of his house at an hour when nobody would see him and secretly made his way to the hovel which R’ Zusia called home. When he arrived the lamps were still burning, so he knocked hesitantly. Almost immediately R’ Zusia appeared at the door with a smile and an invitation to enter.
“How is it that you are so happy and content and I am always angry and cursing everybody”, asked the bewildered Rav?
“Let me give you an example”, offered R’ Zusia. “Take the wedding of R’ Moshe’s daughter. When Reb Moshe, the local philanthropist, made a wedding for his daughter recently, he dispatched a messenger to personally invite the special citizens of Anipoli. When the messenger came to your house, you demanded to see the guest list. You saw that you were 14th on the list”.
“‘Chutzpah!’, you shrieked, and decided that you would attend, but come late. When you arrived, all the guests were sitting at the tables already and eating the festive meal. When you arrived, there were no empty places to be found.”
“Soon, Reb Moshe the philanthropist saw you looking for a place to sit. ‘Rabbi’, he called out, ‘where have you been?’ They brought you to the head table, but there were no more empty places. They brought you a chair, but you sat behind somebody else. You were furious, looking for somebody to lash out at, but nobody was really paying any attention to you. The waiter didn’t even see you. By the time the host noticed that you weren’t eating, all the food was gone.”
“R’ Moshe went into the kitchen to find something, but it was not a portion befitting the Rav of Anipoli. Everything had already been picked through. By this time you were cursing the host and the waiters and the guests and even the bride and groom themselves. When it came time for the bentching (Grace after Meals) and the Sheva Brochos (seven blessing said after the festive meals in the presence of the bride and groom), you had been all but forgotten. You went home broken, angry and bitter, cursing the Master of the World Himself.”
“When the messenger came to the house of R’ Zusia, (he always referred to himself in the 3rd person), Zusia was taken aback. What a kind gesture! Reb Moshe is inviting Zusia to the wedding of his daughter?! What has Zusia ever done to deserve an invitation to their wedding?!
So Zusia went two hours early to the wedding. Zusia asked what he could do to help set up. Zusia officiated at the ceremony. Zusia ate a full meal. Zusia was honored with bentching and Zusia recited the Sheva Brochos.”
“You see”, R’ Zusia continued his explanation to the Rav of Anipoli, “You wanted everything, but you ended up with nothing. Zusia didn’t ask for anything, but he got it all!”