Weekly Chasidic Story #1046(s5778-15/
7 Tevet 5778)
Not a Simple Request
The desperate woman beseeched her Bnei Brak cousin, 'I know you are not chasidic
at all, but please, when you are in NY, approach the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on my behalf."
Connection: Weekly Torah Reading -- the Yissascher-Zevulin arrangement.
(Gen. 49:13 with Rashi's explanation)
Not a Simple Request
In the 1980's, young man in Bnai Brak, R. Yisroel Zussman, was
compelled by his circumstances to leave yeshiva and go into business
after his wedding. As R. Yisroel was a scholar of note and a serious individual;
it always irked him that he had been unable to pursue his true goal of continuing
his advanced Torah studies, despite meeting with great success in his business
One of his acquaintances, aware of his inner turmoil, suggested to him that
perhaps he would feel more satisfaction if he would enter an age-old Yissachar-Zevulun
pact; he should support a young scholar who is dedicating his life to learning
Torah, and he would thus have a share in that scholar's Torah learning.*
R. Yisroel liked the idea very much, and after consulting with Rabbi Aharon
Shteinman, the head of the Ponovezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak,** decided to accept
it. The rosh yeshiva even suggested a "Yissachar" that he undertake
to support -- a serious scholar in Bnei Brak by the name of Rabbi S. Yudaikin,
a descendent of the Vilna Gaon, who was dedicating his life to learning Torah
and serving G-d.
Rabbi Yudaikin, when approached about the proposition, refused to accept more
than his most meager requirements, just enough to get by, and these were sent
to him by R' Zussman on a regular basis. The partnership was very satisfying
to both of them. Years passed by, with this arrangement continuing to be maintained.
One day, R. Yisroel was travelling to New York on a business trip. Before he
left, he received a sudden frantic phone call from a relative. She told him
that she had heard that he was travelling to New York, and she had an important
request to make of him. He said he would be glad to help her, whereupon she
asked him to promise that he would fulfill her request. Cautious (realizing
that this would be no simple request) and curious, he assured her that he would,
and went over to her house to hear from her what it was that she desired.
When he arrived, his relative, who was expecting, informed him tearfully that
she had just been diagnosed with a malignant tumor the previous day, and the
doctors ordered immediate treatment of chemo-therapy.
However, the issue of her pregnancy complicated matters. The doctors felt that
it was crucial for her to abort. They told her that if she didn't terminate
her pregnancy, then either the baby would be severely damaged in any case, or
it would be an orphan.
Her doctor empathized with her about the difficult decision that she had to
make. However, he said to her: "If you were my daughter, I would unhesitatingly
tell you to abort".
The desperate woman now tearfully beseeched her cousin, 'Please, when you are
in NY, use the opportunity to approach the Lubavitcher Rebbe on my behalf.
He is known for the wonders that he has performed, and I will follow whatever
Rabbi Zussman could not refuse her desperate plea, and Sunday found him in
"770" (Lubavitch International Headquarters), waiting his turn in
line to receive a dollar from the Rebbe.
The date was 26 Adar 1 5752. It was one minute before 7 p.m., during the last
hour of the dollar distribution of that day (and the last hour of the dollar
distribution to date***). The Rebbe's attendants and their helpers were focusing
all of their energies on rushing things along as fast as possible in order to
R. Yisroel later related: "As I neared the place of the Rebbe, I noticed
the great efforts in hurrying everyone along. The truth is, I understood them
well. There were, after all, thousands of people in line, and if everyone would
take just one extra moment, it would amount to additional hours. However, I
felt that the issue about which I had come was a matter of pikuach nefesh--lives
were at stake--and I determined to present my question. I decided that when
I reached my turn I would grasp tightly the stand that the Rebbe was leaning
on, so that no one could remove me until I was done.
'I reached the place and stood in front of the Rebbe. I felt hands grasping
me to pull me along, and I noticed the Rebbe glance at them sharply, to indicate
that they should allow me to say my piece. I quickly described the dilemma of
my relative and her question.
'The Rebbe asked me for her name and the name of her mother, which I provided.
Suddenly, the Rebbe closed his eyes for a moment, right in front of me, and
then opened them. I had the sense that he took a quick trip to higher realms
and then came back down to us.
'The Rebbe then turned to me and said: 'It's not the disease that you said,
it's something else. The doctors should be told to look for something else.'"
R. Yisroel stood there in shock, not knowing how to react, but the Rebbe continued:
"What she has is not that disease, so there is no place for her other question
(about terminating the pregnancy). She will give birth, and it will be a very
Completely overwhelmed, R. Yisroel found himself outside, and immediately ran
to a telephone to convey the exact words of the Rebbe to his relative. New tests
were taken, and they showed no trace of cancer. She completed the pregnancy
and gave birth to a healthy baby.
The professor who had been treating her was flabbergasted; the last tests completely
contradicted all the earlier ones. She began to interrogate her patient, asking
what special foods she ate or what treatments she had undergone to bring about
this miraculous change.
R. Yisroel, upon his return to Israel, visited this professor, and personally
shared with her the exact details of what had transpired. Visibly moved, she
banged on the table with her hand and exclaimed emotionally; "Indeed, there
is a G-d!"
R. Yisroel decided to share the story with his "business" partner.
He related to Rabbi Yudaikin the entire story, saying: "Listen, I know
that you and I are both from a Lithuanian background without any connection
to the way of the chasidim at all, but this is a miracle that I have personally
Rabbi Yudaikin responded: "It's a hard story to believe. I need to verify
it before I can accept it. But if I can verify all the details, I promise to
begin to study Chassidus."
True to his word, Rabbi Yudaikin (after verifying the story) began diligently
learning Chassidus. It is said that he recently printed a 500 plus-page book
of his notes on Tanya, the foundational work of Chabad Chassidus.****
* (See "Connection" below)
** Until nearly the end of his life. He passed away last week (12/12) at the
at the age of 104 (!). His funeral in Bnei Brak was attended by over 100,000
*** The next day, 27 Adar I 5752 (March 1, 1992), the Rebbe suffered a debilitating
stroke. R. Yisroel Zussman was probably one of the last people to receive a
face-to-face blessing from him.
**** Rabbi Shmuel Gad HaKohen Yudaikin is also the author or compiler or editor
of a number of significant Torah works on Talmud and other topics.
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from http://stories770.blogspot.co.il/.
Connection: Weekly Torah Reading -- the Yissascher-Zevulun arrangement.
(Gen. 49:13 with Rashi's explanation)
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe : [11 Nissan
5662 - 3 Tammuz 5754 (April 1902 - June 1994 C.E.)], became the seventh Rebbe
of the Chabad dynasty after his father-in-law's passing on 10 Shvat 5710 (1950
C.E.). He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second
half of the 20th century. Although a dominant scholar in both the revealed and
hidden aspects of Torah and fluent in many languages and scientific subjects,
the Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew
on the planet. His emissaries around the globe dedicated to strengthening Judaism
number in the thousands. Hundreds of volumes of his teachings have been printed,
as well as dozens of English renditions.
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells
them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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