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Eye Can See

Yehudah Landau and his wife lived in Argentina, the country where he had been born. They had several children, but one of them, a son named Nachum, had a problem.

Nachum had been born with a lazy eye. On the advice of an eye specialist, Nachum was operated on at the age of three. However, the surgery was not effective. Since the boy had gotten used to using only one eye, the second eye remained undeveloped even after surgical correction. There was a fear that Nachum would completely lose the sight in the lazy eye.

While thinking about the solution to his son’s problem, Yehudah dozed off. In his dream he saw the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the first time the Rebbe had ever appeared to him in a dream. The Rebbe looked at Yehudah with a merciful gaze, and asked why he appeared so upset. At first, Yehudah could not respond. But after a moment's hesitation he told the Rebbe of his problem.

The Rebbe asked, "Does your son wear tzitzit [stringed garment worn daily by Jews in observation of a biblical commandment] every day? Buy him a pair of tzitzit, let him wear it and everything will be fine."

"What is the connection between tzitzit and his eye?" wondered Yehudah.

The Rebbe answered, "Regarding the mitzvah of tzitzit the Torah writes, 'and you shall see them.'"

Yehudah awoke from his dream in a cold sweat. At that point he was in the beginning stages of his return to Judaism, and he was not familiar with the verse the Rebbe had quoted. When he clarified the source and meaning of the verse, he understood that it was not a simple dream, but a message from the Rebbe that he must heed.

However, it was difficult for him to make a decision to dress his son in tzitzit. He had the sense that by wearing tzitzit, he would be announcing to the world that he was an Orthodox Jew, and he felt that such a declaration was premature. He still wanted to retain a sense of "independence" from religious obligation.

In the end, however, Yehudah's G-dly soul won out. The one who influenced him most strongly in this direction was Rabbi Yossi Benshimol. During a chassidic gathering, Yehudah told the story of his dream of the Rebbe, and of his doubts and hesitations. Rabbi Benshimol responded decisively: "Please understand, Yehudah. The Rebbe gave over to you the exact means by which your son can be helped. Now it is in your hands. If you don't grasp the opportunity, the responsibility will lie on your shoulders."

Rabbi Benshimol's direct and sincere words penetrated Yehudah's heart. The next day he purchased a pair of tzitzit, for a "trial period." He wanted to test how his family would react to the sight of the strings on the corners of his garment. He bought a pair for himself as well as for his sons, who all wanted to begin wearing them right away.

Four months later, Yehudah took Nachum for an appointment with the eye specialist. The doctor performed his examination, and within moments an uproar broke out in his examination room. Doctors began streaming in from all directions. The commotion caused Yehudah to panic momentarily.

Shortly afterwards, the doctor emerged, shaken and overwhelmed. "Listen, Mr. Landau. For many years I have been working in this field and I have never seen such a phenomenon. Your son sees perfectly. It is as if he never had a vision problem."

Yehudah was amazed at how quickly the Rebbe's assurance had been put into effect. Indeed, the words "and you shall see them" were meant to be taken literally, and had their effect on Nachum's physical vision.

Still stunned, Yehudah told the doctor of his dream, and of the tzitzit that he had begun to wear. "See, doctor, the results were not long in coming."

The doctor gave Yehudah a penetrating glance and said, "I am not much of an expert in dreams. One thing, however, I can tell you. In your case, even the dream is more realistic than the transformation I just witnessed in your son's condition."

Not long after this episode, Yehudah visited New York and was able to see inside the Rebbe's office. With one glance he realized that he had seen this room before... The room looked exactly how it had appeared in his dream.

Today Yehudah Landau and his family live in Tzefat, Israel, as full-fledged members of the Chabad community.

 

 


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