Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024

My Take On the News

Breaches in the Separation Fence

This has been an eventful time here in Israel, and enough has happened to fill an entire newspaper. For one thing, the cost of living has been skyrocketing. The recent terror attacks have kept this issue out of the headlines, but the widespread price hikes have been causing distress to every citizen in the country. Gas prices have been soaring to record highs, and the cost of public transportation is also on the rise. This essentially means that anyone who has a car has been suffering from the increased cost of gasoline, and anyone who doesn’t have a car has been suffering from the fare hikes. The rise in the cost of public transportation is a burden particularly for large families and for those who tend to be dependent on public transportation—which essentially means the chareidi community.

Meanwhile, State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman has leveled scathing criticism at the government for reasons of his own. Last Thursday, Engelman visited the southern Shomron and examined the breaches in the separation wall that is meant to keep the country safe from Palestinian intruders. The comptroller described the condition of the wall as a “severe and fundamental lapse; this security wall has become irrelevant.” He added that he plans to investigate the matter this week.

Just one day earlier, Palestinian workers were caught on camera passing through a breach in the security fence not far from the village of Yabad. Engelman said, “The State of Israel has been experiencing a wave of terror attacks against its citizens. In recent months, the Comptroller’s Office has been investigating the issue of the security fence. This is a very severe lapse. This is a project in which more than eight billion shekels were invested, yet we see breaches in the fence that are allowing thousands of Palestinians to enter the country with no approval and with no oversight. The breaches are wide enough to permit cars to pass through. We can see how a terrorist from Jenin reached Bnei Brak within an hour, with great ease. This is a very significant failing. I call on the prime minister and the ministers of the government to wake up and to understand that the security fence, which is very important for the security of the citizens of Israel, has been breached and is irrelevant.”

The Terrorist Planned an Attack on the Seder Night

The terror attack in Tel Aviv was a nightmare come true. It was perpetrated by a lone terrorist with no connection to a terror cell or organization of any kind. The perpetrator was familiar with the area, which was the heart of a recreational area in central Tel Aviv (on Rechov Dizengoff, no less) and was a skilled gunman. Worst of all, the terrorist escaped from the scene of the crime. For the police, the army, and the Shabak, this was the worst possible scenario. The entire city entered a state of panic, and rightly so; after all, the terrorist had the potential to appear anywhere at any moment.

To an honest observer, it was clear that this incident was orchestrated from Above. When a terror attack took place in Chadera not long ago, the attackers were neutralized by undercover policemen who were eating at a nearby restaurant. Journalist Nechemiah Strassler responded to this by writing a vitriolic opinion piece in which he declared, “Just imagine what would have happened if they were yeshiva bochurim rather than policemen.” Strassler was insinuating that yeshiva bochurim would not have been able to prevent a bloodbath, and thus faulting the entire chareidi community for their refusal to serve in the army.

Two or three days later, terror struck again, this time in Bnei Brak. B’chasdei Shomayim, in spite of Strassler’s dire predictions, the attack in a city of bnei Torah did not result in a large-scale massacre. A few days after that, there was an attack in the heart of Tel Aviv, in a place that was presumably swarming with people with backgrounds in the military and intelligence services. This terror attack cost three lives, and the footage from the scene showed masses of people fleeing in terror. There wasn’t a single civilian in the packed coffeehouses or on the streets who produced a gun and shot the terrorist.

The deaths of Tomer Mored and Eitam Magini, two friends from Kfar Saba, were tragic. Here, too, hashgocha pratis was clearly at work: When a decree is made in Shomayim for a person to leave this world, he might travel all the way from Kfar Saba to a coffeehouse in Tel Aviv to meet his fate. The third victim, Barak Lufan, lived in Givat Shmuel, a city near Bnei Brak. The entire episode was both frightening and painful.

In the minutes after the attack, hordes of police officers, soldiers, and officers from the Shabak and Yamam (the counter-terror police unit) converged on Rechov Dizengoff, yet the terrorist managed to flee. Nevertheless, Hashem performed a miracle, and he was soon discovered in a mosque in Yaffo. It is difficult to understand how he got there, but what was even more puzzling was the fact that he didn’t continue his murderous rampage. After all, he had a gun and a stash of ammunition. Why didn’t he go on with his terror spree?

The answer, which soon came to light, is mind-boggling: The terrorist planned to stay in the mosque for a week and then to carry out a massacre on the Seder night!

Our Strength Will Not Protect Us

We all dread terror attacks on any day, but it is possible that Israelis live in heightened fear of a slaughter on the Seder night, since we have lived through that exact nightmare. This week marks the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya on the Seder night of 5762/March 27, 2002. The horrific bombing killed 30 Israelis and wounded another 160. It was the worst terror attack in the history of the State of Israel. Was Raed Hazam, the 28-year-old murderer from Jenin who struck in Tel Aviv last week, inspired by that terrible massacre of 20 years ago?

The murderous attack in Tel Aviv shook the entire country, partly because of the unsettling circumstances: The perpetrator entered the country from Jenin through a gap in the security fence and took a bus from Umm el-Fahm to Tel Aviv, where he walked around comfortably in the center of the city until carrying out his attack and then escaped. But even more than that, the fact that it happened in Tel Aviv struck fear into many hearts. When missiles hit the north and terror attacks take place in various cities, the residents of Tel Aviv somehow feel secure. This terror attack seems to have jolted them out of that illusory sense of security. And who are the people of Tel Aviv? They are the media elites, the academics, and the staunch leftists who constantly lecture the rest of the country about the need to be humane even toward the families of murderers. They were shocked when Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack “in the settlement of Tel Aviv.” Yes, as far as the terrorists are concerned, Tel Aviv is the same as any other settlement! Well, now something has shifted in the attitudes of the people of Tel Aviv.

The left was also shaken by the reactions of Arab public figures in Israel to the recent terror attacks, which ranged from lukewarm to blatantly joyous. The rest of us never had much faith in the Arabs’ fake smiles and pretenses of friendship, but the left accepted them as friends. Well, they have for now at least lost that confidence as well. And then came the revelation that the murderer had been aided by Israeli Arabs. That shocking news lit another red light in their minds, which stubbornly refuses to fade away.

On Pesach, we declare that our enemies rise up against us to destroy us in every generation, and only Hashem saves us from their hands. It has always been clear to us that we can rely only on our Father in Heaven to save us from the nefarious intentions of our foes. In every generation, we are saved from our enemies by miracles—and only by miracles. If anyone doubted it, then we have been given repeated reminders of our own helplessness and our absolute dependence on Hashem. Even the conceited government officials who boast about the “long arm” of Israeli justice are being given a lesson in emunah and bitachon. The message should be clear: Our strength and power have nothing to do with our success or our salvation. Over and over, we have been shown that it is only the chessed of Hashem that preserves us.

Chillul Shabbos That Endangers Our Future

The IDF spokesman released a statement made by Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi in response to the recent terror attacks. But it isn’t the content of the statement that interests us; it is the circumstances under which it was made.

Unfortunately, Kochavi made his comments on Friday night, while touring the Machaneh Ofer army base in Yehuda and Shomron and meeting with combat soldiers in the army. Many of those soldiers are Shabbos observant, and his visit was an affront to the soldiers and a violation of army regulations, which require the laws of Shabbos to be observed in the dining rooms on army bases. The most prominent political commentator in Israel, Amit Segal, wondered in an opinion piece, “Why was it so urgent for the IDF spokesman (who filmed the statement and relayed it to the press) and Chief of Staff Kochavi to take a video of the soldiers at their Shabbos meal (including observant soldiers) and of the speech of the chief of staff on Friday night? Was that an operational necessity? Did it safeguard the security of Israel?”

The Association of Military Correspondents in Israel, which includes many religious members, released a statement condemning the army’s actions. “Aside from the affront to the sanctity of Shabbos, since this had nothing to do with any danger to life,” they wrote, “holding a press briefing on Shabbos is also harmful to the religious military correspondents and media bodies that are automatically excluded from the briefing, and we object to that. The members of this forum call on the IDF spokesman and the chief of staff to apologize for this incident, and we insist that the spokesman change his conduct in the future.”

This should not be seen as a mere marginal impropriety. This type of unnecessary and shameful chillul Shabbos is precisely the sort of thing that can cause the middas hadin to afflict us, depriving us of the siyata d’shmaya that we sorely need. The members of the Knesset from the chareidi and religious parties reacted harshly to the army’s casual desecration of Shabbos. Torat Lechimah, an organization that represents religious soldiers in the IDF, released its own strongly worded statement: “It should be unthinkable for the most senior officer in the IDF to trample on the sanctity of Shabbos in the only Jewish army in the world, in violation of the explicit regulations of the army. What sort of personal example will his subordinates derive from that? What sort of values? What sort of attitude toward their orders? The chief of staff has a duty to apologize for his actions in front of his subordinates and to commit to change for the future.”

The wave of protest did not go unnoticed in the IDF. On Sunday morning, the IDF spokesman, Brigadier General Ran Kochav, apologized for the desecration of the Shabbos. He explained that the event had begun before Shabbos and had continued into Shabbos, and he apologized and accepted responsibility for the incident. But that begs a simple question: What does it mean when an official claims that he “accepts responsibility”? When I was a child, a writer named Ephraim Kishon published a satirical piece about a government minister who announced that he was accepting responsibility for something. The people asked him, “Nu? What happens when someone takes responsibility?” He replied, “We simply move on!”

In other words, Kochav did nothing at all.

The Unnoticed Miracle in Bnei Brak

This week, I received a call from a yungerman who lives on Rechov Hashnayim in Bnei Brak, where the murderous terror attack took place several days ago. “Just imagine what would have happened if Rami’s Makolet had still been here!” he exclaimed. When I confessed that I didn’t understand his point, he said, “Many more people might have been killed!”

This gentleman lives at 26 Rechov Hashnayim. He and his wife were at home when the carnage unfolded in the street; they heard the gunshots and saw the horrific sights. “People are amazed by the miracles that were visible,” he said, referring to the bicyclist, the woman with her children, and the MDA paramedic who encountered the terrorist and managed to escape. “However, they do not understand that it is much more than that.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“The terrorist began his rampage at the corner of Rechov Bialik and Rechov Hashnayim,” he explained. “There is a Russian grocery store there, between numbers 12 and 16 on Rechov Hashnayim. That is where Shalom was killed,” he said, naming a victim of the attack whom he knew personally. “He and Avishai Yechezkel were both incredible people,” he added. “The entire neighborhood is in mourning. But you must understand the magnitude of the miracle. The police neutralized the terrorist outside Matzos Aviv. He was on his way to Rechov Herzl. You can only imagine the bloodbath that would have taken place if he had reached that street! People do not realize what a great miracle happened here!”

As for Rami’s Makolet, he explained, “Until a few months ago, a wonderful fellow named Rami owned a minimarket on Rechov Hashnayim, at number 14. We were all his customers, but he closed his store and left the location because of a construction project. I am astounded when I think about what might have happened to him and to everyone in the store if he had still been here. There could have been a major massacre! There is no question that the murderer would have entered the store, and it was always open until after eight o’clock at night. There is no telling how many more people might have been killed!”

My curiosity piqued, I called Rami Yusupov, the erstwhile owner of Rami’s Makolet on Rechov Hashnayim. “Shalom, Reb Rami,” I said when he picked up the phone.

He laughed. “It’s just simple Rami,” he replied.

I asked him about his store, and he confirmed that he had closed it just recently, after it had been in operation for 26 years. And yes, he said, he felt that Hashem’s chessed had protected him from harm. Rami lives in the neighborhood of Neve Hadarim in the city of Ramle, and he was forced to close his store because a developer had bought the location. When the rental contract ended, he had no choice but to give up his storefront. He sent me a picture of the sign that he had posted before his departure, which read, “I give thanks to the Creator for 26 years of abundance and excellent parnossah. Thank you to the customers who were with me from the first day until my last day in this store… With love, Rami.” He also sent me a picture of himself in his store. Behind him, I could see dozens of photographs reflecting his experiences in his store over the years, some of which included images of his customers—a man with a shtreimel accompanied by four children, a Sephardic kollel yungerman, and a child who was clearly a student in a Talmud Torah. It was clear that he was a kindhearted and affable fellow.

“I worked with the chareidi community for 26 years,” Rami said, “and my own religious observance grew stronger from day to day. Recently, a construction project was launched next to the store. Every morning, 20 or 30 Arab workers would come out of the building and go to work. On their way, they would all come to my store to buy cigarettes, cake, coffee, and the like. I was afraid; if one of them were to take out an axe or a knife, what would I do? I kept a crowbar with me at all times. I am very pained by what happened,” he concluded.

A Resignation in the Knesset

It is the beginning of the end of the current government in Israel.

In truth, there has long been a sense that this government has reached the end of its path. Most of the Israeli public had been hoping for the government’s downfall to begin, but it was also unclear why the people believed that it was unfolding. Perhaps the people simply recognized that falsehood cannot last long. In any event, we are rapidly approaching the first anniversary of the birth of this destructive patchwork of a government.

MK Idit Silman announced her resignation from the coalition. The process began when Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (of the Meretz party) called on the country’s hospitals to uphold the Supreme Court ruling that prohibits them from banning chometz from their premises on Pesach. Silman, who chairs the Knesset Health Committee, announced in response, “We cannot allow this minister to continue serving in the government.” Many people found this assertion laughable. What could she possibly do to Horowitz? Bennett himself did not intervene; not only did he refuse to support Silman’s position, but he actually paid no attention to her. But Silman recognized the outrage on the part of the same voters who had elected her and her colleagues, and she decided to resign from the coalition. This was a much more earth-shattering move than any other resignation, since Silman served as the chairwoman of the coalition.

This leaves the coalition with only 60 Knesset members, five of whom are Arabs. The government might last for a bit longer, but there is no doubt that it has lost its legitimacy and its moral backbone. All the polls are currently showing that the right (even without Lieberman) would amass much more than 60 seats in the Knesset. Everyone is simply waiting for the next defection.

When Salvation Comes from the Wicked

There is actually something incredible about this. If Silman’s move heralds the beginning of the government’s downfall, then it must be noted that she chose to step down in response to the actions of Nitzan Horowitz of the Meretz party. And Horowitz himself was basing his actions on a ruling of the Supreme Court, which accepted a petition from the Reform movement to require the country’s hospitals to permit chometz on their grounds on Pesach. To make a long story short, the Reform movement, the Supreme Court, and Meretz—the three most ardently anti-religious and leftist entities in the State of Israel—have actually caused the Israeli government to fall. This is unquestionably a display of Heavenly hashgocha.

But there is more. After the political earthquake of Silman’s resignation, which generated fear for the government’s future, Avigdor Lieberman hurried to announce that the infamous subsidy cut for chareidi children in day care would be postponed for another year. This was ostensibly in response to a demand from MK Nir Orbach of Yamina; however, it was also another demand made by Idit Silman. The move evoked scathing criticism from many directions, both against Nir Orbach (for waiting so long to take a determined stand and for failing to show the same insistence on obtaining electricity for the settlements) and against Lieberman himself (whose quick surrender seemed to imply that his decision to cut the subsidies was not a matter of ideology after all).

All of these events remind me of a famous insight of Rav Ovadiah Yosef. The Haggadah states that our enemies rise up against us in every generation and that Hashem “saves us from their hands.” Rav Ovadiah Yosef pointed out that this can be read literally: Sometimes, our salvation comes from the hands of our enemies themselves. With their own actions, they create the circumstances for their downfall—and for Klal Yisroel’s redemption.

Torah World Thriving Under Oppression

A yungerman recently called me and remarked, “There is something incredible happening. No matter how much the Torah world in Eretz Yisroel is oppressed, it continues to flourish, just as the Jews in Mitzrayim grew and thrived as the Mitzrim tried to suppress them.”

The current government—or, to be more precise, the finance minister—has been doing everything possible to obstruct and hinder the growth of the Torah world, yet the yeshivos and kollelim have been enjoying enormous siyata d’shmaya. “Just look through the newspapers,” the caller told me, “and you will see that every day brings a new hachnossas sefer Torah or the inauguration of a new shul or yeshiva. Torah is flourishing in Eretz Yisroel.”

Sure enough, he was right. I perused the weekend editions of both the Israeli Yated Neeman and Hamevasser, and I was pleased to discover a plethora of events in the Torah community: yeshivas bein hazemanim programs, the inauguration of a mikveh in Yerucham, an event for the Pirchei Hadegel youth group, semicha celebrations, a major event in the Erlau chassidus, an elevating Shabbos for the chassidim of Radomsk, a hachnossas sefer Torah in the Breslov community in Tzefas, a major event held by Zeh Lazeh (an organization that assists struggling orphans and widows), and the inauguration of a new facility for B’Lev Echad, a remarkable organization that lends assistance to sick children and their families and has now begun building a home for children with special needs. There was also a festive event in the neighborhood of Neve Yaakov for Bais Medrash Torah U’Tefillah, which also celebrated the beginning of construction on the first floor of its shul. A special letter of congratulations from Rav Gershon Edelstein was read at the event. And these are only a handful of the events advertised in the newspapers last Friday.

Of course, one of the most important occasions was a huge event held in the neighborhood of Ramot in Yerushalayim. I have written in the past about the community of Ramot, which excels in providing its members with everything they could possibly need. One of the driving forces behind the community is my brother-in-law, Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Kaplan, who keeps me abreast of the developments there. This week, the community opened its yeshivos bein hazemanim with a festive event attended by Rav Dov Landau, rosh yeshivas Slabodka. There will be more on that particular event in the next paragraph, but my main point here is that we are indeed seeing that the government has failed to stamp out religious life; on the contrary, the more the chareidi world is oppressed, the more it grows.

They Can Accept Kvittlach

I attended the event in Ramot, and I can tell you that it was a historic occasion. Thousands of boys from Talmud Torah Shaarei Daas wore their Shabbos finery and waited excitedly for the distinguished guest from Bnei Brak to arrive. Rav Landau was deeply moved by the degree of support provided to the yungeleit in the community. One of the community’s leaders commented to him that there are two men who bear the vast majority of the burden of providing for the community—my brother-in-law, Rav Moshe Tzvi Kaplan, and his good friend, Rav Sholom Kolodetzky. Rabbi Moshe Livneh, a local resident who has a close connection to the rosh yeshiva, informed him, “These two men provide for all the yungeleit here, not only for those who learn in the neighborhood kollelim.” Rav Dov marveled at their accomplishments and remarked, “They have the power to accept kvittlach.” Then he added, “The most important thing in our generation is to support and honor the yungeleit who spend their days toiling over the Torah, and to provide them with enough support to allow them to learn with peace of mind.”

The first portion of the event was held in the Talmud Torah. Rav Dov gave a brocha to the children (including my own grandson) for growth in their Torah knowledge and yiras Shomayim. I have no doubt that the children will never forget this meaningful encounter.

Rav Dov’s next stop was Bais Medrash Shaarei Tevunah, a well-known hub of Torah learning. Every bain hazemanim, various gedolim are invited to deliver shiurim there. In fact, the community recently published an entire sefer consisting of drashos delivered by Rav Gershon Edelstein in that particular bais medrash. This time, Rav Dov delivered a shiur, following on the heels of Rav Dovid Cohen, who is considered a close friend of the bais medrash and the community. During his shiur, Rav Dov quoted the Nefesh Hachaim’s famous comment that Torah knowledge is preserved by yiras Shomayim; if a person lacks fear of Heaven, his Torah wisdom cannot endure. “This,” he explained, “is achieved by learning mussar.” The lomdish portion of his shiur dealt with the halachos of Pesach. He concluded his address with a brocha for the audience and added, “There is nothing else to add; a happy person is a person who learns Torah.”

The last item on his itinerary was a visit to the headquarters of the local Keren HaTorah, where he was joined by various roshei kollelim from the neighborhood. The organizers announced the founding of an additional support fund, Mokirim, which would provide financial assistance to kollel yungeleit. Rav Dov made a powerful statement at the event: “The kollelim are the most important thing in the world. The yeshivos are also important, but the kollelim are of paramount importance.” He added that he had recently traveled to America to speak with some wealthy philanthropists, an endeavor that took him out of his personal comfort zone, to solicit support for the yungeleit in Israel. He went on to praise the askonim who work on behalf of the yungeleit, collecting funds and distributing food packages and vouchers. He also expressed his admiration for the new tzedokah fund, and he asked for a l’chayim to be brought and then suddenly broke into a dance. It was a deeply moving scene.

There Is Nothing There

The constant flow of new stories about Rav Chaim Kanievsky seems to be continuing unabated. Ever since his passing, new incidents and insights are constantly coming to light. The stories span a wide range of topics, from his mind-boggling knowledge of the entire Torah, which sometimes seemed to be informed by ruach hakodesh, to his benevolence and caring for every Jew. And, of course, there were the miracles that he seemed to perform. As I mentioned in the past, Rav Chaim exemplified the teaching of Chazal concerning the posuk, “If you extract the precious from the vile, you will be like My mouth.” Rashi explains this to mean, “I [Hashem] will make a decree and you will annul it.” And Rav Chaim certainly seemed to have the power to annul Heavenly decrees.

Two days ago, a man named Moshe Chai Shem-Tov told me a fascinating story. Moshe Chai is an affable young man who runs a money changing business in Givat Shaul in Yerushalayim, which is frequented by many colorful Yerushalmi characters and bnei Torah. Last week, when I arrived at his storefront, a nephew of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was regaling him with a fascinating story. This week, I visited him to thank him for giving me the opportunity to hear that story, and he replied, “You like hearing stories about gedolim? Then let me tell you a story about Rav Chaim Kanievsky!”

I replied that I preferred to hear stories only from the people who had experienced them, in order to ensure the veracity of the accounts, and he said, “This is a firsthand account. I was a witness to the incident. Do you want to hear about it?”

Of course, I seized the opportunity to hear his story. Here it is, in his own words:

“My uncle was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told him that he had a tumor and that it was very dangerous and difficult to treat. They feared that he might never be able to walk again, or even that the worst might happen.

“We went to Rabbi Elimelech Firer, and he told us that very few operations had been performed in Israel of the kind that he needed. He recommended a specialist in Hadassah Hospital. Of course, my uncle was under terrible pressure. The news had hit him like a bombshell. The entire family tried to encourage him and lift his spirits, and I offered to take him to Bnei Brak to seek a brocha from Rav Chaim Kanievsky. Naturally, he agreed.

“We went to Bnei Brak together, and I took him to a store to buy a normal suit and shirt so that he wouldn’t appear before the rov in his usual attire. Before we entered the rov’s home, I also told him to remove his necklaces and his watch. He didn’t understand the reason for that, but he did as I said. We went upstairs and waited in line until our turn arrived. When we entered Rav Chaim’s room, we found ourselves barely able to speak. I explained the situation to the rov and told him that my uncle wanted a brocha, and the rov said, ‘There is nothing there.’

“I was dumfounded. How could Rav Chaim claim that there was nothing wrong with him? The doctors had given him a clear diagnosis, based on an MRI and other imaging tests that they had performed. I said to the rov, ‘The doctors say that he has a tumor, and we have already consulted with Rabbi Firer, and he told us to have the operation done by the top specialist. We even have an appointment for the surgery.’

“The rov looked up and gazed at my uncle, and he repeated, ‘There is nothing wrong with you.’

“There was nothing else to say.

“We returned to our car, and I saw that my uncle looked disappointed. ‘Start dancing!’ I said to him. ‘You need to say thank you.’

“My uncle looked at me and said, ‘I don’t understand why we came. What did he mean when he said there is nothing wrong with me? Why did I bother buying this suit?’ He put on his necklaces and his watch again, and we drove back to Yerushalayim in silence.

“Two weeks later, we arrived at Hadassah for the surgery. As you can imagine, when there is an operation in a family such as ours, the entire clan shows up. There were about 20 people there, to ensure that he wouldn’t be alone. We came fairly early, since we were told that he needed to have blood tests and all sorts of other preparations before the operation. We sat in a room, and a young Arab resident came in and told us that they needed to perform another scan in order to determine exactly where to operate. The tumor was in a place where it was difficult to operate without causing damage, and they wanted to be as precise as possible.

“We were all incredibly tense. He was taken to another room and then returned to us. Before long, the Arab came back and told us that the scan needed to be repeated. At that point, we were all on the edges of our seats. Why wouldn’t they just operate already? How much longer could we stand the suspense? But the Arab doctor was insistent. There was a bit of a commotion and even some shouting, and a few other hospital  employees came and made it clear to us that we had no choice.

“The time for the surgery had already arrived, and we were all terribly tense. Finally, after we had spent two hours climbing the walls, the Arab returned and said, ‘It looks like there isn’t going to be a surgery.’

“We were ready to tear him apart. ‘What do you mean, there won’t be a surgery?’ we demanded.

“‘We can’t find the problem,’ the Arab said. ‘Something is very unclear about this.’

“We were all shocked. Some of us began crying and others began dancing. Then the specialist showed up; he was the top urologist in Hadassah, the one whom Rabbi Firer had said should perform the operation. He gathered us together and said, ‘I am sure you are going to say that you received a brocha from a rov. You have the right to believe whatever you want. Personally, I do not believe in brachos or in rabbonim. I believe only in the scans, but I can tell you that according to these scans, there is no tumor at all.’ He turned to my uncle and said, ‘I am comparing the scans with each other. I can tell you with certainty that you had a problem, and now it is gone. I don’t know how to explain it, but there is no need for surgery!’

“At six o’clock in the evening, we all left the hospital to return home. I looked at my uncle and said, ‘We need to go back to Bnei Brak.’ He looked at me in puzzlement. ‘We have to thank Rav Chaim,’ I said.

“We drove to Bnei Brak and waited outside his home, and the family told us that we didn’t even have a chance of getting in to see him. We were finally admitted at two o’clock in the morning, and I said to the rov, ‘We have just come from Hadassah. The top surgeon there told my uncle that there is nothing wrong with him. We know that this came from the rov’s brocha!’”

May the holiday of Pesach be a time of brachos and yeshuos for all of us.




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