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Blessed Dollars

Nissim Mizrachi and his wife were unsure of what to do. They had recently married, and Nissim had just completed his tour of army service. For a long time the couple had planned on taking a trip outside of Israel, their native country. This was in 1973, and New York City was a popular vacation destination.Lubavitcher Rebbe

However, their plans were marred by the severe kidney disease of Nissim's father Shlomo (of blessed memory). According to the doctors his condition had taken a turn for the worse and he was already in end-stage kidney failure.

Shlomo was a man of strong faith, which did not leave him even in his most difficult moments. Therefore, he urged his son not to change his traveling plans. "G-d will help all of us and there will be a miracle," he said. "You and your wife need this honeymoon and should not forgo it. Travel in peace and all will be well."

With a heavy heart Nissim boarded the plane. His mind was filled with sad thoughts, wondering if he'd ever see his father again. As much as he tried to distract himself and enjoy his honeymoon with his wife, his heart was not in it.

Friends of the Mizrachis in New York who heard about the problem advised him to turn to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. "Just as someone who visits Israel wouldn't forgo a visit to the Western Wall, it's impossible to be in New York without seeing the Lubavitcher Rebbe."

Nissim's friends were not religious, and certainly not chassidim, but had a strong admiration for the Rebbe which came through in every word they uttered. Nissim himself was somewhat familiar with Chabad, from their activities with soldiers in the IDF and from the mitzvah booths they set up in public places in Israel. However, he had never heard stories of the Rebbe himself. Now his friends regaled him with wondrous stories of the Rebbe's miracles.

And so, Nissim found himself on a visit to the Rebbe's headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. On the evening that he arrived, the Rebbe was conducting a chassidic gathering with thousands of people. The Rebbe spoke in Yiddish, and Nissim, who was of Sephardic origin, did not understand a word. However, he was glued to the shining countenance of the Rebbe. He stood at silent attention for several hours, despite his lack of comprehension.

At the end of the gathering the Rebbe gave several chassidim packets of dollars, to distribute to all the participants. A young man standing near Nissim explained to him that the Rebbe was giving out these dollars so that the people would exchange them and give the money to charity, thus fulfilling a mitzvah. "Take the Rebbe's dollars, give your own in their place, and keep the bills from the Rebbe. These dollars are blessed and precious, and you should never give them up," he advised. Nissim took his advice and put the dollars from the Rebbe in his wallet.

When Nissim and his wife returned to Israel, his brothers were waiting for them at the airport. This was at Nissim's request, so that he could immediately go to see his father without losing a moment. In addition to his strong desire to see his father, he also wanted to give him the dollars from the Rebbe.

Nissim found that his father's condition was quite serious. He was completely bedridden and the doctors had given him only days to live. He was hospitalized in a semi-conscious state. When Nissim entered his father's room he trembled. His father's body was hooked up to numerous lines, and his condition had greatly deteriorated during the few weeks that Nissim was in the United States. 

The Mizrachi family had already despaired of their father's life. But Nissim did not. The dollars from the Rebbe seemed to give him energy and faith. He approached his father's bed, took out the dollars and put them near his head. His lips whispered a silent prayer that the Rebbe's blessings should bring about a great miracle and restore his father to health.

The miracle transpired the next morning. Nissim returned early the next day to visit his father, and was shocked to see him sitting up eating breakfast! Nissim wanted to pinch himself to make sure he wasn't seeing a mirage. Yesterday his father had been one foot in another world, and now he was awake, alert, eating on his own!

The doctors admitted that they were baffled. "People in your father's condition rarely wake up," they said.

Nissim showed his father the dollars that were under his pillow, and told him about the Rebbe. Shlomo was very moved, and was convinced, like Nissim, that it was the power of the Rebbe's blessing that restored him to life. 

"Now I know why G-d led me to travel to New York, even though my heart was not in it," said Nissim to his father. "I simply had to visit the Rebbe and bring you back these dollars of blessing."

Shlomo lived another 14 years and passed away at a ripe old age. However, this story unfortunately does not have a happy ending as of yet.

Now, 36 years later, Nissim is afflicted with the same illness that his father had. Of the three dollars that he gave his father, he has only one, and he believes with all his heart that in the merit of this blessing he will be saved. He requests that anyone reading this story should pray for him, Nissim ben Sarah, to live long and healthy years, amen.


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