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Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 6 Tishrei 5783
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A Penetrating Look

It began with daily, crushing headaches. Yosef Amram had always been strong and healthy, but was suddenly stricken with these headaches as well as other troublesome symptoms. When his primary doctor could find no cause, he sent him to the hospital for further testing.

The results of the tests were shattering: Yosef had a malignant tumor in his lower abdomen. The doctors advised him to begin immediately with intensive and prolonged treatments, and warned him that his chances for success were not very good.

Yosef and his wife found it difficult to accept this news. They began making the rounds of various rabbis and kabbalists in Israel, requesting their blessings. They all agreed to pray for Yosef, but made no promises.

From living a secure, comfortable life, the Amrams were plunged into despair. Yosef’s wife had always had a connection to Chabad, and she decided to write a detailed letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding their unfortunate situation. Without telling her husband, she also mentioned in her letter that she was interested in taking a trip to New York to meet the Rebbe, and she asked the Rebbe for his approval.

Within a few days Yosef began chemotherapy in Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital. His wife, with the Rebbe’s blessing in hand, tried to convince him to travel with her, but he was already disappointed from all the rabbis they had seen and refused to hear of it. His wife did not give up, and when the doctors stopped chemotherapy for a two-week break, she convinced him to fly with her to New York.

For the holiday of Shavuot, the Amram couple found themselves in Chabad World Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, where caring people provided them with their every need. Their hosts informed them that the best time to meet the Rebbe and receive his blessing would be on Sunday, when the Rebbe would meet with people and give them a dollar for charity.

That Sunday, the two came to the Rebbe’s synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway and joined the long line of people waiting to see the Rebbe. After many tiring hours of waiting, Yosef found himself standing face to face with the Rebbe. The Rebbe gave him a piercing look, filled with fatherly love and concern. Yosef’s body trembled with emotion. The Rebbe gave him a dollar to give to charity, and continued to look in his direction until he left the room.

The chassidim who were there at the time sensed that something special had happened. They asked Yosef for the meaning of the look the Rebbe had given him. Yosef said that he felt the Rebbe wanted to pour into him energy and heal him from his dreaded illness.

Yosef was a new man after his meeting with the Rebbe. Something inside of him had changed. His smile came back to his face, as did his color. Within a few days his physical situation began to improve as well. On the holiday of Shavuot, he felt well enough to join a group of chassidim on a walk to a distant neighborhood in Brooklyn, to share in the Yom Tov joy.

After the holiday, Yosef took pen and paper and wrote a detailed letter to the Rebbe, describing his experiences and feelings, which he dropped off at the office of the Rebbe’s personal secretary, Rabbi Laibel Groner. Within a few hours, he had received an answer from the Rebbe: When they returned to Israel they should consult with three doctors.

This answer lifted the spirits of the couple and gave them new hope. They were certain that the Rebbe was working a miracle for them through the doctors they would choose. Yosef felt a sense of calm that he had not had since his illness was discovered.

Several days later Yosef went again to the Rebbe to receive a dollar, when the Rebbe turned to him suddenly and instructed him to begin wearing tzitzis (fringed garments that religious men wear daily). How does the Rebbe know that I don’t wear tzitzis? Yosef wondered to himself.

The Amrams returned to Israel and immediately fulfilled the Rebbe’s instructions. They visited three senior doctors, bringing with them Yosef’s full medical file. The doctors all advised him to continue treatment. Professor Y., a senior oncologist in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, who was familiar with Yosef’s case, could not hide his surprise at the change in Yosef. “You have gained weight, and your spirit is also much improved. What happened?”

As soon as Yosef mentioned the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the doctor needed no further explanation. “If so, you have nothing to worry about,” he said. “I myself have seen the miracles that have happened thanks to the Rebbe’s blessings.”

The treatments continued for another two months, after which Yosef went through another round of tests. To the amazed eyes of the doctors, they discovered that the tumor was not only retreating… it had disappeared altogether. The doctors found it hard to believe and repeated the tests, but the results were identical. The cancer was gone.

Like a veteran, devoted chassid, Yosef quickly updated the Rebbe on his news. Within a few weeks he made a feast of celebration and thankfulness for all his friends, and told them about the Rebbe’s blessings that had granted him a new lease on life. Yosef lived for another 16 healthy and fruitful years.


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