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Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 18 Adar I 5784
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One Daughter, Two Blessings
by Tzvi Zimmerman
The 20th of Av marked the 70th yahrtzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He passed away and is buried in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, where he had been exiled by the communist government for his activities to teach and perpetuate Judaism.

Mr. Tzvi Zimmerman is an Israeli businessman who lived in Alma Ata for an extended period, overseeing a number of international business ventures. He relates:

One day I returned home from work and got out of the elevator. As I turned toward my door I was attacked by thieves. They forced me into my apartment and tied me up. Then they locked my door and began going through my belongings.

I knew that in these types of robberies, the victims generally are not left alive. Yet these robbers did not harm me. They took what they wanted and left. As soon as I recovered, I called Rabbi Yeshaya Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Kazakhstan, and the Rebbe’s emissary, and I told him that I wanted to be called up to the Torah to say the traditional Hagomel blessing one makes upon being saved from danger. Rabbi Cohen told me to come to the synagogue on Monday.

I was familiar with Rabbi Cohen’s work, especially since I attended the High Holiday services and saw how devoted he is to all the people in the community. I admired the man and his work.

I went on Monday and the Torah portion that was read was about our foremother Sarah, who was told by an angel that she would finally conceive a child after many years of infertility.

At the end of the prayers, I sat down with the rabbi to talk. Rabbi Cohen spoke to me about his work, and mentioned that the grave of the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, is in Alma Ata.

I confided in the rabbi that I had a daughter who had been married for four years and was still waiting to have a child, despite extensive medical treatment. Rabbi Cohen suggested that we both go and pray at the gravesite.

We went together and I saw a nice building that had been erected by the chassidim at the gravesite. We went inside and prayed, and I mentioned the name of my daughter, Shirlee bas Sarah.

When we left, Rabbi Cohen reminded me of the week’s Torah portion, about Sarah conceiving a child after many years. He promised me that we had left the matter in good hands and concluded confidently, “Expect good news.”

A short while later my daughter called me to share good news… She was expecting her first child. I am sure it is thanks to the prayer we said at the Rebbe’s father’s gravesite.

However, this is not the only miracle that we experienced with my daughter. We have another story that happened with a different tzaddik, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s son, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Many years ago, when Shirlee was 12, we were living in Haifa. One day she suddenly developed paralysis in her limbs. She was hospitalized immediately and checked by the best doctors, but none of them could diagnose the cause of the paralysis. It was a bad situation. I would hold her and her arms and legs would dangle in the air with no movement or reaction.

One evening, I was sitting near her hospital bed, feeling brokenhearted, when three bearded chassidim walked in. A mutual friend had told them about my problem and they had come to visit. They suggested that I check the mezuzot in my house.

We immediately went to the house and checked the mezuzot. The world uv’kumecha (when you get up) in the mezuzah on my daughter’s room was faulty. Of course, we immediately changed mezuzot.

That same night, we called the Rebbe’s office and spoke to the secretary, Rabbi Groner. I told him the story and he told me he would give her name and the details to the Rebbe and ask for a blessing. One of the three rabbis then said that we needed to make a l’chaim. He said in full confidence: “We checked the mezuzot, located the problem, and informed the Rebbe. Now everything will be fine.”

The very next day, I went to the hospital and Shirlee walked towards me as the entire department stood there and wept. The doctors, the nurses, the patients. Now, as I tell the story, I’m also crying. It was such an emotional moment.



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