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Tuesday
Jun052018

‘YOU ARE THE REBBE’S CHILD, SAY L’CHAIM!’

When we left the office of the field’s leading authority in Eretz Yisroel, my wife burst into tears. As for me, I took a few moments to contemplate on the matter and then began to smile from ear to ear. I was suddenly filled with tremendous faith. My wife was surprised by the calm and tranquility that engulfed me. When she asked me to explain, I told her about the clear bracha I had received from the Rebbe in yechidus: “Sons and daughters involved in Torah and its mitzvos.” A deeply moving miracle story.

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry           

While many years have passed since this story took place, when you hear it straight from the baal HaMaaseh, Rabbi Chanoch HaLevi Shachar, it seems as if it happened just now. He recalls the events in the fullest detail – every utterance and every experience in this chain of miracles is clear as a bell in his mind. What seemed irreversible and irrefutable in the eyes of the medical specialists took a dramatic turn after the bracha of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach.

“When our son reached the age of three, the mara d’asra of the Chabad community in Tzfas, Rabbi Levi Bistritzky, of blessed memory, came to our house. He said that while he had been invited to two other events that evening, he could not miss our son’s upshernish. He took out a small bottle of ‘mashke’ and poured some into a small cup. He placed our son on his knees and said: ‘You’re the Rebbe’s child, say ‘L’chaim!’, and the boy drank the contents of the cup,” Rabbi Shachar recalled in a voice tinged with emotion.

A PESSIMISTIC ‘PROFESSIONAL’ PROGNOSIS

As Rabbi Shachar begins his story, you can clearly sense the memories flashing before his eyes: “It was the 28th of Sivan 5744, when I married my wife, Malka Chana a”h (nee Helman). We eventually established our place of residence in the Holy City of Tzfas. The shidduch was made by my mashpia, Rabbi Reuven Dunin, of blessed memory.

“One fine day, Rabbi Dunin called my father and asked to speak with me. In his customary blunt style, he didn’t mince words and got right to the point: ‘Next Wednesday, at such-and-such a time and on such-and-such a street in Kiryat Yam, you’ll meet your bashert.’ The rest is history – we met and got engaged, at a good and auspicious hour.

“That year, a few weeks before the wedding, I was privileged to travel together with Rabbi Dunin to Beis Chayeinu. This was a most unique experience that I will never forget. The ‘cherry on top’ was a general ‘yechidus’ in which I took part after the Shavuos holiday. I went in as part of the last group – the chassanim and kallos. I was quite excited by this event, and I clearly recall several portions of the Rebbe’s sicha, among them: ‘May G-d bless each and every one of you and all of you together … [with] sons and daughters involved in Torah and its mitzvos.’

“These words from the Rebbe still reverberate in my mind to this very day. While the Rebbe gave a detailed sicha, I was still relatively ‘new’ in my affiliation with Lubavitch and my thoughts weren’t entirely focused. Nevertheless, the whole atmosphere and the Rebbe’s brachos have remained an indelible part of my memory.

“A year had passed since our wedding and we still had yet to be blessed with children. While I wasn’t anxious about it, as it had only been one year, my wife was very concerned. One of our relatives who was acquainted with experts in this field helped us to make appointments with the leading specialists in Eretz Yisroel. This was a difficult time for us, as we ran among these and other experienced professionals in fertility treatments. After a year of tests, we came to the field’s most senior medical authority in Eretz Yisroel, a well-renowned specialist.

“This doctor, who had a heavy Persian accent, was extremely courteous, and I must add that despite his hallowed reputation, he conducted himself with great humility. After he asked if he could see the diagnoses of the previous specialists, he decided that he would not draw a hasty conclusion, and he sent us for another lengthy and exhausting round of tests. After receiving the results, the doctor invited us into his office. I’ll never forget that moment; I can safely say that we were extremely tense as we prepared for this meeting. With great compassion, he said:

“‘Look, there are different situations where fertility treatment can help, and some of them have a high percentage of success. Medicine is constantly learning and developing in this field. However, when there are so many complex problems with a certain couple, I’m sorry to say that this is another story entirely.’

“We were thunderstruck by the doctor’s candid prognosis. He was telling us quite unmistakably that there was little chance that we would ever have children. The doctor even urged us not to waste our money going to other specialists. ‘No doctor can promise that you’ll have children, and if he does, his purpose is to deceive you into giving him your hard-earned money,’ he declared categorically. ‘Go out and enjoy life. Take a trip, see the world, but don’t waste your money on treatments that will achieve nothing.’ He spoke to us with true empathy in his heart, but his message was unequivocal.

“As we left the doctor’s office, my wife burst into tears. As for me, I took a few moments to contemplate on the matter and then began to smile from ear to ear. I was suddenly filled with a sense of tremendous faith; I honestly didn’t know how or from where it came from. My wife was surprised by the calm and tranquility that engulfed me and she asked me to explain.

“The source for my faith was the clear bracha that the Rebbe had given me in yechidus. I told her how the Rebbe had clearly blessed us with ‘sons and daughters involved in Torah and its mitzvos.’ As long as we depended upon the doctors, there was a certain concern and uncertainty. Now, however, it’s all in the hands of Heaven – and so I was calm.

THE REBBE FORESAW THE DEFECT IN THE MIKVEH

“When we came home, we sat down to write a detailed letter to the Rebbe about all the events we had gone through during the previous year. We naturally added what the fertility specialist had told us.

“Not long afterwards, a letter from the Rebbe was waiting for us in the mailbox: I hereby confirm receipt of her letter and PaN from the 13th of Elul in request of a bracha. At a befitting time, it will be read at the Tziyon of my holy and revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, of righteous memory, whose soul rests in the hidden treasures of heaven, may his merit protect us. And it is incumbent upon them to be particular … immersion in a kosher mikveh. The Rebbe continued by urging us to review and study the Laws of Family Purity, claiming that with the passage of time, it’s possible that certain details and stringencies may have been forgotten.

“When I showed the Rebbe’s reply to my mashpia, Rabbi Reuven Dunin, he instructed me to learn the necessary halachos in greater depth. In connection with the Rebbe’s statement regarding the mikveh, I immediately called the person in charge, who was the grandson of the Rebbe’s first shliach to Haifa and rav of the city’s Chabad community – Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kuperstock, a chassid of the Rebbe Rayatz and one of the founders of Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Eretz HaKodesh.

“Rabbi Kuperstock built the mikveh in Haifa, however, several years later, in 5712, a need for repairs developed, but there was not enough money to do them. The Rebbe MH”M himself offered his support and sent one hundred liras for the project. He even promised that if they would renovate it according to Chabad custom, he would give another one hundred and fifty liras.

“Now, as a result of the Rebbe’s reply, I turned to Rabbi Kuperstock’s grandson and he immediately promised to conduct a detailed check of the mikveh that same day. The mikveh was closed, the water drained, and the pits were checked thoroughly. A few days later, he called me and said that a crack had been discovered that posed a problem for the mikveh’s halachic status…

A SPECIAL BRACHA ON EREV YOM KIPPUR

“In Elul 5746, my wife heard that her friend, Mrs. Sima Zalmanov, would be flying to 770 for Tishrei and she asked her to mention her name before the Rebbe when she passed by for ‘lekach.’ Mrs. Zalmanov happily agreed, and when she returned to Tzfas, she had an amazing story to tell us: As she got in line for ‘lekach’ distribution, she had a lengthy list of requests from different people. However, when her turn came before the Rebbe, she couldn’t utter a word. She was so overcome by the intensity of the moment that she simply wasn’t able to open her mouth. The Rebbe stopped for a moment and waited to hear what she had to say.

“Finally, the Rebbe asked if she wanted to request something. She remembered only one thing: ‘A bracha for children for Malka Chana bas Leah Raizel.’ The Rebbe smiled broadly in response, gave her another piece of lekach, and then added: ‘May we hear good news soon.’

“Mrs. Zalmanov took out a piece of ‘lekach’ and gave it to us. My wife took the ‘lekach’ and did what any Chassidic woman would do – she ground it into crumbs and then baked a cake with the ‘lekach’ crumbs mixed in. She didn’t think about herself alone, as there were other women in the community who were without children. Since it was clear to her that the ‘lekach’ contained a share of spiritual power, she sent a piece of this cake to each of them. It’s interesting to note that some of these women gave birth within a year after receiving the cake, while others gave birth some time later.

“After receiving such a clear and explicit bracha from the Rebbe, the pessimism and worry that had consumed my wife until then disappeared in an instant. She was now filled with complete faith and confidence.

“On the 15th of Elul 5747, the Rebbe’s bracha was fulfilled and we were blessed with the birth of our eldest daughter. Less than a year and a half later, on the 20th of Marcheshvan 5749, our eldest son was born. These first two children were eventually followed, thank G-d, by another five. We were simply overjoyed, especially when we recalled the words of the specialist in our fateful meeting with him. We realized that while the world continues to function according to the laws of nature, there is a leader in our generation whose holy blessing has the power to change nature.”

FAITH UNTIL THE VERY LAST MOMENT

As Rabbi Chanoch HaLevi Shachar concludes his story, he tells about the power of faith demanded of him and his wife until the very last moment:

“During the first pregnancy, when my wife had completed her ninth month and still had not given birth, the doctors gave us cause to worry with various projections on the baby’s condition. After every examination, they tried to raise the level of our concern and insisted that my wife undergo an operation. However, we remained calm and collected. We knew that the child, who would enter the world with the Rebbe’s bracha, would be born, G-d willing, after an easy birth, healthy and strong. And so it was. Several days after the due date set by the doctors, we were blessed with the birth of a completely healthy baby girl.”

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