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Someone Who Needs It
by Rabbi Nir Gavriel

I am an emissary of the Rebbe in the Florentine neighborhood of Tel Aviv. One morning as I was on my way to synagogue I received a call on my cell phone. The person on the other end seemed very worried. He told me that he wanted to come to the synagogue to write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and insert it into a volume of Igrot Kodesh, the Rebbe’s published letters. Lubavitcher Rebbe, Chabad, Moshiach

When I arrived at the synagogue he was waiting for me, with his letter already prepared. He explained to me that he had recently gotten married. A month before the wedding, his fiancée was found to have a malignant tumor in her throat. The doctors told her that she would need surgery to remove it, but it could wait until after her wedding.

One of their friends, hearing of their plight, advised them to write to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and request his blessing via the Igrot Kodesh. This happened on Thursday, and his wife’s surgery was scheduled for the following Monday.

Although I did not see an explicit blessing from the Rebbe in the page he had opened, I tried to encourage him to have faith in G-d that all would be well. Inside, though, I was deeply concerned for the plight of this young couple.

That Sunday, I was doing my usual rounds of local businesses, to offer the employees and business owners an opportunity to perform the mitzvah of Tefillin. I noticed that a new linen store had just opened, and I went inside and introduced myself as the local emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The proprietor, a middle-aged woman, responded, “I know very well who the Lubavitcher Rebbe is. I have two dollars at home that I received from the Rebbe; I owe my life to those dollars!”

Intrigued, I listened as she told me her tale:

“Twenty years ago, I was living in Brooklyn. I was over 30 and still single. A friend of mine suggested that I visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe and ask for his blessing. When I went to the Rebbe I gathered my courage and asked the Rebbe for a blessing to find a spouse. The Rebbe handed me a dollar, and blessed me with ‘a complete recovery.’

“I was flabbergasted and confused. I was perfectly healthy. Why had the Rebbe blessed me with a complete recovery? I went home and did not go out for a week, out of disappointment and depression. My friend who had suggested that I go to the Rebbe said that perhaps the Rebbe had not heard me clearly, and asked if I wanted to go back again.

“The following Sunday I made another trip to the Rebbe’s synagogue. This time, the Rebbe again wished me a ‘complete recovery,’ then handed me another dollar and told me to give it to someone who needs it.

“About six weeks later I understood quite well what the Rebbe had meant. I began to suffer from shortage of breath, and after seeing a doctor I was found to have a growth in my throat. After further examinations I was told that the growth had apparently begun to spread to my lungs and I needed immediate surgery.

“I took the dollar with me and entered the operating room with the Rebbe’s dollar under my pillow.

“Shortly after the surgery began, the doctors came out and told my friend who had accompanied me that my heart had stopped beating. They were able to resuscitate me, but decided that it was too risky to continue with the surgery. Therefore, they had ended the surgery without removing the tumor, despite the dire prognosis if the tumor remained. However, they asked her not to inform me that the tumor had not been removed.

“When I awoke from anesthesia, the doctors asked me how I was feeling, and seemed surprised when I told them that I felt great.

“During a follow-up appointment, I thanked the doctor for the surgery and told him that I felt wonderful. The doctor shrugged his shoulders and asked if he could do a thorough examination. After taking the x-rays, the doctor told me in shock: ‘We did not want to tell you this before, but we never removed the tumor during surgery. Somehow, G-d has taken care of it without us—the tumor is gone!’

“Of course, I knew how the tumor had disappeared on its own—it was thanks to the Rebbe’s blessings!”

The woman finished relating her story, when suddenly an idea flashed into my mind. I said to the woman: “Remember that the Rebbe gave you an extra dollar and told you to give it to someone who needs it? Well, I know just the person!”

Quickly I told her about the young man I had just met, whose wife needed surgery for a tumor in her throat. The woman quickly agreed to give her extra dollar from the Rebbe to that young woman. She rushed home and got the dollar and gave it to me. In the meantime I had called the young man, who came with his wife. The storeowner quickly told her story and gave them the dollar of the Rebbe.

The next day, the young man called me and told me that his wife had undergone the surgery successfully.

Two weeks later, I had already forgotten about the whole event. Suddenly my phone rang. The young man was on the other end. “Rabbi, you won’t believe this!”

He told me that his wife had gone for an appointment with one of the top surgeons in Israel. She asked him what follow-up care she would need to prevent the return of the tumor—chemotherapy or radiation?

The doctor smiled and told her, “Your case is extremely unusual. After removing it from your throat, we sent it to a pathology lab. Turns out that it was all a big mistake—the growth was not cancerous at all! It was nothing more than a lump of fat!”


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