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
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
"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
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
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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