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Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 19 Adar I 5784
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The Power of Kosher Tefillin

The telephone rang late in the night at the home of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Freiman, emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Zichron Yakov, Israel.

On the other end of the line was David, one of his congregants. He informed Rabbi Freiman that the teenaged son of a mutual acquaintance was hospitalized, in critical condition. For several days, the boy had suffered stomach pains. He was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with appendicitis. However, the appendix had ruptured, and the infection had spread throughout his body.

The doctors said that his condition was grave. The boy was hurriedly prepped for emergency surgery. Before he was wheeled into the operating room, the doctors informed his parents: "Your son's life is in danger. We will do all we can to save him; in the meantime, pray."

The parents called their friends and neighbors and quickly organized a prayer circle for their son, Avraham Yeshaya son of Lillian. Their friend David, when he heard the news, immediately called Rabbi Freiman to ask him to join the prayer circle.

Rabbi Freiman, as a Chassid of the Rebbe, decided that the most helpful thing to do would be to request a blessing from the Rebbe. He did his spiritual preparations and sat down to compose a letter. He placed the letter between the pages of a volume of Igrot Kodesh, the Rebbe's collected published letters.

The volume he picked up was number 25. On the page was addressed a letter to a soldier in the IDF. The Rebbe wrote to him that since he is in a state of war and is in danger, he should be very careful with the mitzvah of Tefillin, which has a special power of protection.

Rabbi Freiman concluded that this letter was also applicable to the situation he had written about. Probably, he thought, the boy's Tefillin had an error, and by correcting the error the boy would recover.

Rabbi Freiman hurriedly called back David and asked him to bring the boy's Tefillin to his home, immediately. Within minutes, David brought him the Tefillin as well as some of the Mezuzot from the boy's home. The parents had decided to use the opportunity to check these as well. That very night, Rabbi Freiman brought the Mezuzot and Tefillin to the home of an expert Sofer (scribe), and asked him to check them immediately.

Later that night, the Sofer called Rabbi Freiman and reported that the Mezuzot were kosher, as was the head Teffila. However, the arm Tefilla had a problem. The letter "Reish" in the last word of the passage, "haaretz", was not written clearly. The upper portion of the Reish was short, and could be read as a Reish or a Vav. In such a case, the law is that one must ask a young child who was just starting to read to identify the letter. Since the child can read letters but not words, he is in the best position to identify whether the letter was distinguishable.

Despite the late hour, Rabbi Freiman went to the home of the family and told them the results of the Sofer's inspection. The young brother of the sick boy was still up, due to the unusual circumstances. He was just the right age to identify the correct letter.

The boy was brought to the Sofer's house. The Sofer showed the boy various letters in the Tefillin, and he identified them all correctly. He was then shown the letter Reish in the word haaretz - the letter in question. The boy looked at it and immediately identified it as a Vav.

As it turned out, the Tefillin of the sick boy were rendered unfit. Since his Tefillin had an error, it was considered as if he had never laid Tefillin!

Since the mistake was in the last letter, it was relatively easy to erase the word and rewrite it correctly. Otherwise, the whole parchment would have had to be rewritten entirely.

The family was excited and grateful that the mistake had been found and corrected. Avraham Yeshaya's operation was a success, and his recovery was very rapid. Within four days, Rabbi Freiman came to visit him and laid his kosher Tefillin on him, for the first time in his life. Shortly thereafter, Avraham Yeshaya was discharged from the hospital, fully recovered, to the amazement of the doctors, who declared his quick recovery to be a medical miracle.



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