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Restored to Life
by Miriam Horvitz
Our saga began when our two-month-old daughter, Chaya Bracha Chana Horvitz, developed a chill, with a slight cough and runny nose. It seemed to be something that would pass as quickly as it appeared. However, when I looked at her face one morning, my motherly instinct told me that something was wrong. She appeared very weak and lethargic, and she had no appetite. We made an appointment with the pediatrician at our local health clinic.

When we arrived at the clinic, the doctor took one look at her and immediately called for an ambulance. Upon arrival at the emergency room, the doctors on call gave the same diagnosis as our pediatrician – a serious case of bronchitis resulting in a blockage of air into her lungs. They immediately transferred her to the ICU.

They hooked her up to an intravenous infusion and placed her on oxygen, while periodically applying anesthetics. She clearly was having difficulty breathing on her own, as her tiny chest rose and fell slowly.

As we were waiting outside the ICU, I called my mother to update her on the situation and asked her to write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to request of a blessing for our child. That evening, we left the hospital to be with our other child and preserve our strength for the following day. In the afternoon, as we made the final preparations before leaving the house, I got a phone call from my mother. She told me that the doctors had just come out and said that they were preparing to hook our child up to a respirator. They were asking the parents to come as quickly as possible and be at their daughter’s side.

The first thing my husband and I did was to pledge a charitable contribution to each of the institutions where we worked. It is written that charity saves from death. Naturally, we continued to pray for her health. In the meantime, my husband called our neighbor, Rabbi Dovid Shaer, the mashpia at Yeshivas Chanoch Lenaar, and asked him to write a letter to the Rebbe on our behalf. While we were en route to the hospital, he sent us an SMS with the Rebbe’s reply, as it appears in the Rebbe’s published letters, Igros Kodesh, Vol. 21, pg. 170: With a blessing for success in his holy work and for proper health and a long and good life with all its meanings.

This clear answer was very encouraging to us. When we arrived at the waiting room outside the intensive care unit, the doctors informed us that they were fighting to save her life… For these next two hours, doctors came in and out carrying numerous instruments. Their faces were clouded with concern, and no one stopped to notice or speak with us.

 At a certain stage, one of the doctors came out and told us that there had been a serious deterioration in her condition two hours earlier. Her respiratory system had collapsed and they had to help her breathe artificially through a machine. As soon as the breathing tubes were attached, this created air pressure on her lungs. Gaps were formed in the lungs themselves, filling the chest cavity with air. There was now a serious concern that the baby was about to suffer a cardiac arrest.

For a period of two hours, our child’s life hung in the balance. The doctors worked feverishly to revive her, and on several occasions, she didn’t have a pulse.

At a certain point, the head of the medical staff dealing with her case, Dr. Yuri Weiner, came out to us and said he considered it amazing that she was still alive. “You have a child with a strong will to survive that you don’t encounter every day,” he said with undisguised excitement. The problem, he explained, was that despite her more stable condition, he couldn’t promise that the child would last through the night.

Throughout that night, the situation was not good, as her condition remained unstable. The doctors inserted a tube to drain the fluid from her lungs. However, her lungs were so weak that they couldn’t supply oxygen to the bloodstream. As a result, she needed constant supervision and medication. The next day, her condition seemed better, and with G-d’s help, she kept improving. The gaps in her lungs began to close on their own, the signs of life reappeared, and she became more active.

The following day, before we returned to the hospital, I passed by my mother’s house and opened the volume of Igros Kodesh where I had placed a letter the day before. I was stunned. The answer appeared in Vol. 18, pg. 256:

After a long break, his letter from the 20th and the 28th of Adar Rishon was received, in which he writes the doctor’s opinion regarding [his] health.

… May G-d Alm-ghty, who heals all flesh and performs wonders, give them the correct idea of which treatment to advise him and the treatment will succeed.

…it is my hope that although he doesn’t mention a word on this matter, he is involved in spreading the wellsprings and I want to hope that he is also increasing in this, according to the command to increase in matters of holiness.

[Regarding] the place of the medical treatment, he should consult with a ‘doctor who is a friend’ who knows details on places and the doctors offering treatment.

I read the answer, and I was amazed by its clear and precise messages.

By G-d’s Divine Kindnesses, the baby’s condition continued to improve with each day, and it could be said that she received her life anew. At the start of her rehabilitation, there was a concern that as a result of what she had gone through, she might have suffered some long-term damage. However, after a series of tests, it was determined that everything was functioning within normal parameters.

She remained in the hospital for two weeks. When the apertures in her lungs closed, it was a sign that her condition had improved to the point that she would soon be back to normal.

We received the release papers from the hospital and headed home happy and relieved. As the Rebbe had instructed at the conclusion of the letter to my mother, we increased our outreach activities during those two weeks among the parents and visitors of the hospital patients, and we saw much success in our efforts. Men put on t’fillin and we spoke with many other women about faith and trust in the Creator.


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