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Monday, May 27, 2024 - 19 Iyyar 5784
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No Mistake

It started as a simple sore throat. When the discomfort persisted and refused to go away, Mrs. Malka Brown* of Jerusalem went to see a doctor. She did not dream that her peaceful life was about to be shattered.

The doctor did a routine examination and then ordered more tests. The panic in his eyes gave Malka a sense of foreboding. After a battery of exams, Malka was given her diagnosis: A tumor had been found in her throat, and it had already begun to metastasize.

Malka’s life suddenly turned into a whirlwind of doctors’ visits, examinations and treatments. However, her prognosis was dismal.

Malka did not consider herself a Chassid of Chabad. However, she had heard of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and decided that only the Rebbe’s blessing could save her. The family tried to talk her out of flying to America in her condition. However, Malka felt that she had nothing to lose. She packed her bags and was soon on a plane, headed to New York.

In New York, Malka stayed at her sister Sarah’s house in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Malka did not realize that her sister’s husband was strongly opposed to the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. When Sarah found out that Malka intended to approach the Lubavitcher Rebbe for a blessing, she was dismayed. Her consternation grew when Malka innocently asked her sister to escort her to the Rebbe’s synagogue on the following Sunday, when the Rebbe would usually give out dollars for charity.

Sarah tried patiently to explain to her sister that she could not possibly accompany her. “I understand exactly how you feel, and I am not going to prevent you from going to the Rebbe yourself and receiving a dollar. However, you will have to go without me. If my husband finds out that I went to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he’ll be livid!”

Malka was distraught. She never dreamed that Sarah would be so opposed to accompanying her. “I am not trying to convince you to become a Chabad Chassid. I am only asking you to come with me.” Malka attempted to reason with her sister: “I am not from the area and I don’t know my way around New York. It will be very difficult for me to find the Rebbe’s shul myself. Remember the condition that I’m in. How can you refuse me?”

In the end, Sarah acceded to her sister’s pleas. However, she warned Malka that no one must find out where they had gone.

Sarah planned on escorting Malka to the dollar line, and then leaving her there alone and waiting outside until Malka saw the Rebbe. However, the two sisters became engrossed in conversation while on line, and without noticing it, they came to the end of the line, where it was impossible to turn back.

Sarah panicked. She thought of what would happen if her husband found out that she had been to see the Rebbe. However, there was no way out.

Their turn came to stand before the Rebbe. Malka briefly told the Rebbe of her condition, and the Rebbe handed her a dollar, together with a wish of “blessing and success.” But when Sarah passed by the Rebbe, the Rebbe inexplicably blessed her with “A complete recovery.”

The two sisters left the Rebbe’s shul confused and overwhelmed. What did the Rebbe mean? Why did Malka receive the standard blessing of “blessing and success,” while her sister, who was not sick, was blessed with a complete recovery?

They returned home, and Sarah could not calm down. She was distracted and upset. Her husband noticed and asked her what was wrong. She broke down and told her husband what had happened that day – that she had been to the Rebbe for a blessing, and rather than blessing her sister with a speedy recovery, the Rebbe had given her the blessing.

Despite his opposition to the Rebbe’s teachings, Sarah’s husband felt deep in his heart that the Rebbe’s word was not to be taken lightly. He told his wife, “I think you should see a doctor immediately.”

Sarah looked at her husband in surprise but saw that he was serious. He picked up the telephone and told her to make an appointment right away.

Sarah saw the doctor that same day, and to her shock, she was told that she had a serious health problem that needed immediate treatment. Had she waited a little longer, it would have been irreversible.

The doctor treated her health problem and she made a full recovery. In the end, both sisters got exactly the blessing they needed from the Rebbe, and recovered from their illnesses.

*a pseudonym


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