Weekly Chasidic Story #995 (s5777-13 / 25 Kislev 5777)

A Deserved Chanukah Miracle

The first time the two rabbis of the "Chabad Terror Victims Project" met Sgt. Ohad Benyishai of the IDF, he was lying unconscious in a hospital bed, having been critically injured during "Operation Protective Edge" in Gaza. It was uncertain if he would survive.

Connection: Seasonal: Chanukah miracle


A Deserved Chanukah Miracle


The first time Rabbi Menachem Kutner and Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov of the Chabad Terror Victims Project met Sgt. Ohad Benyishai of the Israel Defense Forces, he was lying unconscious in a hospital bed. He had been critically injured in mid-July of 2014 during "Operation Protective Edge" in Gaza, where he was deployed with his Golani Brigade's elite Egoz commando unit.

He and his unit's comrades were involved in a brutal battle in Gaza's Shuja'iyya neighborhood, which later became known as the bloodiest battle with Hamas during the entire operation. Thirteen soldiers lost their lives during the battle and many were injured. Ohad suffered a serious shrapnel wound of his head and was identified as the most seriously injured soldier during the operation.
He was quickly airlifted to the Soroka Medical Center, where on his arrival, his condition was so serious that the hospital doctors did not think he would make it through the night, but they refused to give up. After an unrelenting battle to stabilize Ohad that lasted a few weeks, Ohad rewarded their efforts when he regained consciousness.

In the months that followed, Benyishai slowly, with great determination and effort, and with devoted family support, began relearning how to function. He also mastered the Hebrew alphabet, and had even managed to say two words, ima (mom) and abba (dad), but no more.

On the second night of Chanukah, the rabbis visited the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, where he was recovering and had just celebrated his 20th birthday. There, around 70 wounded soldiers, their families and Chabad volunteers gathered for a special celebration and menorah-lighting.

Benyishai was invited to light the menorah together with Kutner. The rabbi said the blessings, and Benyishai held the shamash (helper candle) with his functional left hand. With the rabbi's assistance, he lit the two candles.

Then suddenly, the room went quiet as Benyishai slowly began to mouth the words to "Haneirot Halalu" and "Maoz Tzur" along with Kutner. The familiar traditional Chanukah tunes that he had learned during his childhood had brought back his ability to speak. He was talking!

His parents ran to him, and showered him with hugs and kisses with tears streaming down their cheeks.
They had their Chanukah miracle.


Ohad was released from Sheba Hospital after an 18-month long recovery period on Monday, February 8, 2016, and returned home, but he will need to continue to undergo rehabilitation procedures in order to regain his full capacity.

Please continue to pray for the ongoing recovery of Ohad ben Erica, and the brave men and women of the IDF who have sacrificed so much to protect our precious homeland.

Source: Adapted and supplemented by Yerachmiel Tilles from an article on //Chabad.org. (The 2nd paragraph is adapted from //IsraelToday.co.il; the 2nd-to-last paragraph is from //IsraelNationalNews.com (Arutz Sheva). The photo is also from Chabad.org.)

Connection: Seasonal: Chanukah miracle

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.

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