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Friday, 7 August 2020
Parashat 
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A Pleasure Trip
Mrs. L of Los Angeles had grown up in a loving Jewish home of Moroccan origin. Although she was not religiously observant, they strongly identified with the basic principles of Judaism.

One day Mrs. L. unexpectedly began to feel serious headaches. At first, the pains came and went, but with each passing day, they became far more frequent. It eventually reached the point that she couldn’t move because the pain was so intense. She realized that these weren’t just pains that would disappear over time, and she immediately went to the famed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for a check-up.

The doctor who examined her determined in light of the test results that there was a dangerous tumor that had already spread throughout her brain and she had just three months to live. He told her that the only available option was surgery; however, he openly admitted that there was no more than a 20% chance of success.

You can just imagine the shock and anguish Mrs. L and her family felt upon receiving the bitter news. Left with little alternative, she made an appointment for surgery with this doctor, as she spent the final days before the procedure contemplating on what she had accomplished during her life. Since she had been born into a traditional faith-filled Moroccan home, she prayed to the Creator and begged for her life.

A few days before the scheduled surgery, as she was walking down one of the city’s streets, she suddenly met a Lubavitcher chassid with a long beard and a cheerful expression. Impressed by his appearance, she immediately went up to him and told him the whole story of her illness, adding that the doctors had told her that she probably wouldn’t last more than a few more months.

This Chabad rabbi, who apparently was one of the Rebbe’s emissaries, listened attentively. He then told her that while he is a rabbi, he has his own spiritual leader, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and he can give wondrous blessings.

He handed her a calling card bearing the address and phone number of the Rebbe’s secretariat in Brooklyn, New York. The chassid urged her not to settle for just sending a letter to the Rebbe; she should travel there personally and meet with the Rebbe for a private audience, a yechidus. The chassid’s enthusiastic words about the Rebbe and his amazing spiritual abilities proved most convincing. She decided that she wouldn’t have the operation before receiving the Rebbe’s blessings.

Her husband had not grown up in a traditional home as she had; he had been brought up estranged from Judaism. She became worried that if she would tell him about her plans, he wouldn’t let her go. Therefore, she took matters into her own hands. She asked her husband if she could travel to the big city – New York – and have one last pleasure trip before she goes in for her fateful surgery with its uncertain results. Only her sister would be joining her.

Her husband readily agreed and gave her a large sum of money for herself and her sister to spend on their trip.

Upon their arrival at LaGuardia Airport, the sisters made their way straight to the guest house in Crown Heights they had heard about from the chassid. They came to the Rebbe’s synagogue on Friday, four days before the date of the operation, scheduled for the following Monday night. When the woman contacted the Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, he informed her that the closest possible appointment for a yechidus wouldn’t be for another six months. However, when she cried bitterly as she explained that her medical condition would not permit her to wait such a long time, Rabbi Groner agreed to squeeze her in between appointments.

The yechidus was scheduled for very late on Sunday night. She went in to speak with the Rebbe, whom she described as “a man with the face of an angel,” and she laid her sad situation before him. While the Rebbe heard her say that “her days were numbered,” he refused to accept the medical prognosis. The Rebbe told her that not only was there no reason for worry, he also didn’t believe that there was a need for an operation. He wished her a complete recovery and then gave her a blessing that her home would become a house of Torah and good deeds.

She was in total shock and she simply didn’t know what to do. However, based on the fact that she was raised in a home rooted in faith in tzadikim, the Rebbe’s clear and sure words filled her with pure faith. Naturally, she didn’t say anything to her husband about meeting with the Rebbe. As far as he was concerned, she was returning from an enjoyable visit to New York City.

After the yechidus, she made her way back to the airport and boarded a flight for her return trip to Los Angeles. She had only a few hours to rest before going straight to the hospital together with her husband and a worried group of friends and family members. The doctors prepared her for surgery with one final series of x-rays. After the pictures were taken, the surgeon called her over and said that the x-ray machine was apparently broken, as it failed to pick up any sign of a brain tumor. He suggested that she go to a nearby institute and take a new set of pictures. He would call them himself to say that she’s coming.

Following the doctor’s advice, she went to this institute and made the necessary x-rays. She came back to the surgeon with the results, and he looked at the pictures from top to bottom in a state of incredulity. He examined them for several long minutes, comparing them to the original x-rays. His eyes were frozen open in astonishment. “I have to be honest with you,” he told her, “according to the new x-rays we did here at the hospital and at the private institute, you don’t need to have an operation. Our machine is working fine, and there is no doubt that you had a growth in your head. However, it has disappeared on its own…”
 

 


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