Weekly Chasidic Story #1229 (s5781-41)
18 Tammuz 5781/June 28, 2021
Help for Special Needs"
She asked me, How is the rebbetzin
doing? Taken aback at the use of this Yiddish term, I blurted, Are
you Jewish? I cant tell you over the phone, she replied
Connection (tenuous) - Weekly Torah Reading: In this week's
portion we read about the process of dividing The Land among the Twelve Tribes
(Num. 26:52-53), and the unique arrangements made for the special needs of daughters
without brothers (27:1-11). [This theme continues into next week's double portion,
when Moses has to deal with the special needs of the tribes of Reuven and
Story in PDF
format for more convenient printing
for Special Needs
by Rabbi Mendel Samuels
youngest son Refoel-Meir is a special-needs child. He is a very sweet boy, but
due to his condition he cannot be left alone even for a minute. Every day a nurse
comes to our home to assist in his care; this allows my wife to function in her
many capacities as a mother for the rest of the household and as a shlucha (emissary
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe).
Several years ago there were changes at our insurance.
They started sending letters informing us that in their assessment, our son's
condition did not meet the criteria for deserving a home nurse for 40 hours a
week. These assessments were baseless and Refoel Meir's doctors wrote letters
stating unequivocally that he needed the nurses desperately.
of warnings, on the day before Rosh Hashana we were notified that the insurance
would stop paying for the nurses indefinitely. We were devastated.
of a trained nurse they were willing to provide us with an aide that would come
for two hours each day to be with Refoel Meir. It was difficult to find the right
person for the job, but after some time we managed to find the perfect fit. Although
this provided some measure of relief so my wife could catch her breath and do
some basic chores each day, the new arrangement was extremely difficult for us
all, especially for my wife.
After losing the much-needed funding, a representative
from the appeals department was assigned to our case. She assured me on the phone
that she would do everything in her power to get the nurse back to our home.
the end of our conversation she asked me, "How is the rebbetzin doing?"
aback at the unexpected use of this Yiddish term referring to the rabbi's wife,
I blurted out, "Are you Jewish?"
"I can't tell you that information
over the phone," she replied laughing. From then on this became a routine
joke in our phone conversations. She would ask how "the rebbetzin" is
doing, I would ask her if she is Jewish and she'd respond she was unable to divulge
On the day before Passover she called me with the bad
news that after trying everything in her power to appeal their denial of Refoel
Meir's nursing care, the final appeal had been rejected and the denial was final.
We were broken by the news.
A few months later during the summer I was at
the Ohel [burial structure of the Lubavitcher Rebbe] and as I prepared to enter,
my wife called me in tears. The aide who had been coming for two hours each day
for the past eight months found a better job and would not be returning henceforth.
She was beside herself thinking how life would be without even this bare minimum
I immediately assured her that everything will turn out for the
best and asked her to write a letter to the Rebbe which I will read at the Ohel
in a few minutes. Certainly the Rebbe will intercede that we overcome this challenge
This is what she wrote:
Firstly, I thank the
Aibershter ['the One above'] for the privilege of being given the responsibility
of caring for such a special soul. But He created me of flesh and blood and there
is only so much I can do. I desperately need the nurse. I'm begging for a blessing
that we should get our nurse back for 40 hours a week. I'll take 20 hours but
the truth is that we really need a nurse for 40 hours a week.
As I turned
to leave after reading her letter and placing it at the Ohel, my phone rang.
Rabbi. How is the rebbetzin?"
I was shocked since I had never expected
to hear from the insurance appeals department ever again.
expected to hear from you," I said.
"Neither did I, Rabbi. Tell
me, what did you do?"
"That's a loaded question. I have done a
lot of things."
"Rabbi, whom did you speak to?"
many people. What's going on?"
"That's what I am wondering as
well. Listen, in all my years working at this company I have never seen this happen.
I am holding a letter here stating that the company is reversing all their denials
and your son will have a nurse for 40 hours a week!"
the Ohel with the phone to my ear I burst out crying and said to her, "Do
you know where I am standing now? I'm standing near the resting place of the Lubavitcher
Rebbe. Have you heard of the Lubavitcher Rebbe?"
I was there last week."
"So you are Jewish!"
sorry I can't tell you that over the phone."
We were both very emotional
and she started crying as well. An open miracle had just occurred in front of
When I shared the news with my wife moments later she was in absolute
disbelief, but so exhilaratingly grateful at the miraculous turn of events.
Although we had our funding back, finding the right nurse
could be a serious challenge but I figured since we were already on a roll I would
contact the nurse who had been coming up until Rosh Hashana and see if she was
perhaps available to care for Refoel Meir again.
said to me on the phone. "You are a man of faith. I knew G-d would bring
me back to your family. I have been waiting by the phone all these months. I will
be there on Monday."
May Refoel Meir experience a refuah shleimah
Source: Edited by Yerachmiel Tilles
from the original article in "A Chassidisher Derher" (Teves 5781
/ Dec. 1980). The author, Rabbi Menachem-Mendel Samuels, is a shliach of
the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Simsbury, CT.
Note: Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe [n.d.:
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.
(tenuous) - Weekly Torah Reading: In this week's portion we read about the process
of dividing The Land among the Twelve Tribes (Num. 26:52-53), and the unique arrangements
made for the special needs of daughters without brothers (27:1-11). [This theme
continues into next week's double portion, when Moses has to deal with the special
needs of the tribes of Reuven and Gad]
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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