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Monday
Jan132014

WHEN THE REBBE SAID NOT TO OPERATE

Presented for Chaf-Beis Shevat, the day Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka a”h passed away.

A team of top doctors surrounded the patient’s bed. After many examinations, they were unanimous in their opinion. They had to operate. The family waited tensely outside the room, their hearts racing and their lips murmuring T’hillim nonstop for the recovery of their mother.

One of the doctors left the room and addressed the family. “As you know, your mother’s condition is not simple. After many examinations and consultations with the best doctors, it was decided that the only way to cure her is by operating. The operation will be complicated, but there is no other choice.”

They burst into tears. What would happen?

One of the girls calmed down a bit and said, “We must call the Rebbetzin and tell her the situation. We cannot agree to the operation before doing that. What the Rebbe says, we’ll do.”

This family lived in Boro Park and they had a family connection with the Rebbetzin. They often called her, talked to her, and asked for brachos. The Rebbetzin would convey their requests to the Rebbe and report back what the Rebbe said.

They rushed to call her and told her everything that had happened. “We request the Rebbe’s bracha and would like to know whether to agree to the operation.”

The Rebbetzin conveyed their message to the Rebbe and after a while she came back and said, “The Rebbe said absolutely not to operate.”

The doctors exerted pressure. Time was running out and they were not pleased that the family was delaying with their consent to the operation.

“Why are they having such a hard time deciding? Don’t they rely on top doctors?”

When the family informed the doctors of their decision not to operate, the doctors were furious. “Do you want to help your mother or not? How can you take such responsibility as to go against all the doctors’ advice?”

But the family stayed firm. They quietly explained that they were following the Lubavitcher Rebbe and there was nothing to discuss. Naturally, this explanation did not win the doctors over. All they said was, “The responsibility is completely yours.”

A few days went by and their mother’s condition deteriorated. The doctors pressured the family once again. “As we told you, you must operate. Will you stubbornly insist on refusing? Her condition is getting worse and she will soon be in critical condition!”

The pressure on the family continued to mount and despite their faith in the Rebbe’s words, they decided to ask for another bracha. One of the daughters called the Rebbetzin and told her the situation. She asked for another bracha.

“Chassidim in Lubavitch do not ask twice. I consider myself a Chassida of the Rebbe and do as the Chassidim do. So I cannot ask again,” said the Rebbetzin. 

“So what should we do?” asked the frightened daughter.

“If the Rebbe comes home and asks about your mother, I will tell him about the situation, but I won’t ask again.”

The Rebbe, with his ruach ha’kodesh, knew what was happening and when he came home, he asked the Rebbetzin about the woman. The Rebbetzin told him about her condition and what the doctors said and concluded with, “I am not asking; just telling.”

The Rebbe’s face turned somber and he was silent for a few moments. Then he said, “I repeat. They should not operate.”

The Rebbetzin reported this to the worried family.

The mother’s condition continued to worsen from day to day before the frightened eyes of the family. Her condition became so bad that she was in critical condition.

“We told you to operate. You insist on refusing and these are the results. In her current state, if you still refuse, we require that you sign that you take responsibility for her life. We relinquish responsibility.”

The family was at a loss. It was hard to withstand the pressure.

They called the Rebbetzin once again and told her what was going on and asked for the Rebbe’s bracha. But the Rebbetzin, as a loyal Chassida, repeated what she told them before. “I don’t ask again. The Rebbe already said twice not to operate.”

“So what should we do?”

“If the Rebbe asks me, I will tell him, but I won’t ask.”

When the Rebbe came home, once again the Rebbetzin told him the situation. The Rebbe asked, “Why don’t they try medication?”

The Rebbetzin quickly told the worried family what the Rebbe said. The Rebbe’s answer gave them some hope and they asked the doctor to prescribe some medication for their mother. The doctor restrained himself from laughing in their face. “Medicine? What medicine are you talking about? No medicine in the world will help in this situation. The time has come for you to listen to what the doctors are telling you instead of giving us advice.”

The family went from doctor to doctor and ignored their unfriendly replies. They finally found what they were looking for. In one of the departments there was a doctor who heard them out and after giving it much thought he said, “I think I know which medication the Rebbe means. Since I am a doctor, I can visit any room I want. I will go visit her in her room and give her an injection. We will see. Maybe it will help.”

The doctor gave an injection without consulting and without telling his colleagues. After a few days, the patient was doing better. “We don’t know what happened, but her condition stopped deteriorating,” the doctors were pleased to report.

The doctor who treated her was happy to see the positive results and he said, “It seems I was right about what the Rebbe had in mind.” Every few days he injected her with that medication and her condition continued to improve until she was no longer in danger and eventually she returned home.

Of course, all this time the family was reporting to the Rebbetzin about the improvement. One day, the Rebbetzin received a phone call with the happy news, “Our mother was released to go home!”

When the Rebbe came home, the Rebbetzin told him the good news. The Rebbe said, “When they asked me whether to operate, I saw that if they operated, she would not live. When they asked again, I thought the doctors would see the family’s opposition to the surgery and would recommend treating her with medication, but when I saw that they were not even considering trying medication, I said it explicitly.” 

The Rebbe added, “Now we see how we need to listen to what is said, even when all the experts say the opposite.” 

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