Weekly Chasidic Story #1049 (s5778-18/ 28 Tevet 5778)

The Medical Convoy

"The last time I was here I was confined to a wheelchair; now I'm standing on my own two healthy feet!"

Connection: Seasonal -- Shabbat is the 34th yahrzeit/hilula of Rabbi Yisrael ("Baba Sali") Abehatzeira

The Medical Convoy


Once, a large group of people came to visit the Baba Sali (Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira). As they waited their turn to meet with the tzadik, they chattered noisily and it was impossible to convince them to lower their voices. They were obviously excited about something. Rabbi Eliyahu Alfasi, Baba Sali's attendant, approached one of the men in the group and asked what they wanted from the master. "Ask that girl," the man said, pointing to a figure among the women.

Alfasi went to her and asked the same question. She looked at him and said, "Don't you know me?"

He searched his memory, but he couldn't recognize her.

The young woman laughed and asked again, "Try to remember."

But try as he might, he could not recall who she was. Finally, she said, "Would it be easier to remember if added that I was confined to a wheelchair the last time I was here? Now I stand before you, thank G-d, on my two healthy feet."

In a flash, Alfasi remembered. Three months ago, a girl was brought to the Baba Sali's home in a wheelchair. She had begged to be allowed to enter. It was several years now, she had said, that her legs were paralyzed, and she had come from the Beit Levinson in Raanana, where the highest ranking doctors had told her that there was no hope for recovery.

Rabbi Alfasi had explained that it was impossible for her to enter the room of Baba Sali, but because of her moving request, he would allow her to move her wheelchair up to the door of his room and listen to his words through the door.

After Baba Sali heard her problem, he gave her a blessing for a complete recovery. When she heard this, she began to weep. She asked Rabbi Alfasi to ask Baba Sali to promise her that she would get well.

In the face of her moving despair, Alfasi could not refuse her request. He returned to Baba Sali with her words. This time, Baba Sali gave Rabbi Alfasi a bottle of water and instructed him to tell her to wash her legs with this water. "I give her my word that she will soon recover," said Baba Sali in a loud voice.

The girl heard and rejoiced. She asked those who brought her in to bring her back to the car in which she came. She departed clutching to her chest the bottle of water that Baba Sali gave her, as tears fell down her cheeks.

And now, she had returned to tell Baba Sali that she was healed. She had walked into the house unaided to demonstrate her ability to walk alone.

To Rabbi Alfasi there was still an unanswered question in his mind. "I understand now that you came to thank the master, but why did you bring all these other people?"

Before she could answer, one of the men who had come with her stepped forward and said to Rabbi Alfasi: "We are a group of doctors from Beit Levinson. We have been working closely with this patient for four years. Our prognosis was that there was no hope for her recovery. Not only were her legs paralyzed, but we discovered after many tests that her whole left side would eventually be affected!

"When we saw what happened to young woman after the holy Rabbi gave his blessings, we could not contain ourselves. The whole department felt we had to come and see who this great man is. We, too, want him to bless us!"

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Babi Sali (Judaica Press).

Biographical note:
Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzira [1890 - 4 Shvat 1984] known as Baba Sali, was born in Tafillalt Morocco to one of Jewry's most illustrious families. From a young age he was renowned as a sage, miracle maker and master kabbalist. In 1964 he moved to Eretz Yisrael, eventually settling in 1970 in the Southern development town he made famous, Netivot, and where, since 1984, his tomb has become one of Israel's most visited pilgrimage sites. A number of collections of stories featuring him have been published, including two in English.


Yerachmiel 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.

To receive the Story by e-mail every Wednesday--sign up here!

"Festivals of the Full Moon"
("Under the Full Moon" vol 2 - holiday stories)
is now available for purchase from ASCENT
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Book 1 of Yerachmiel Tilles's 3-volume set, "Saturday Night, Full Moon",
is also available for
purchase on our KabbalaOnline-shop site.

back to Top   back to this year's Story Index   Stories home page   Stories Archives
Redesign and implementation - By WEB-ACTION