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Friday, December 3, 2021 - 29 Kislev 5782
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Joshua’s Cure

“Emphysema,” the doctor declared.

“Excuse me?” asked Joshua. He did not understand the word the doctor had just told him.

“Emphysema,” explained the doctor, “is a disease of the lungs. It affects the ability of the lungs to obtain oxygen. There is no cure at present; it is something you just need to learn to live with,” the doctor concluded with empathy.

At the time, Joshua Dashif was only 27 years old, a student in the Ohr Temimim yeshivah in Kfar Chabad, Israel. He had been through a long journey from his hometown in California to his present occupation. Once arriving at the yeshivah, Joshua felt that he had found what his soul was seeking. After several months in the yeshiva, he suddenly began to develop shortness of breath. The administrators of the yeshivah sent him to a doctor, who ordered rounds of tests, which led to the diagnosis of emphysema.

Joshua did not wish to resign himself to the situation. After all, he was only 27, and emphysema was a disease of old age. He visited another doctor whom he had met during his travels. He hoped that the doctor would tell him that the diagnosis of emphysema was mistaken.

However, Joshua was disappointed. The second doctor only confirmed the diagnosis.

Joshua decided to return to the United States, to his home state of California, to undergo additional tests. He still held out hope that the doctors were mistaken. In the meantime, though, his symptoms only reinforced the conclusions of the doctors. His breathing became more labored, to the point that he could not walk for more than ten minutes without having to stop and rest.

On his way home from Israel to California, Joshua had a stopover in New York. He decided to take advantage of the opportunity and spend Shabbat in Brooklyn, in the synagogue of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. That week, as usual, the Rebbe held a farbrengen, chassidic gathering, during which he spoke words of Torah. In the pauses between his talks, sichot, the chassidim sang soulful chassidic melodies.

During one of those breaks, Joshua sensed that the Rebbe’s gaze had fallen upon him. The gaze lasted for several long seconds. After the Rebbe had removed his eyes, Joshua felt an unusual sensation. He tried to identify what had changed, and suddenly he realized: Air was entering his lungs with ease, with none of the labored breaths he had suffered for so many months.

Joshua pinched himself to make sure he was not dreaming. But it was no illusion. From moment to moment, his breathing eased, and by Saturday night he felt completely normal.

To make sure the disease was truly gone, Joshua followed up with doctors in California. Their results showed that he had not been mistaken—there was no trace of his former illness.

Joshua had a sister, Joanna, who lived in California. He visited her and told her enthusiastically of the miracle he had experienced. His sister found it difficult to believe. She could not understand how an incurable condition could suddenly disappear just from a gaze of the eye.

“You know what,” she revealed, “I am also having a serious problem.”

“What happened?” asked her brother.

His sister’s problem was not a simple one. Recently Joanna had been losing a lot of blood. After examination, doctors found two growths in her lower abdomen. They recommended immediate surgery to remove the growths.

Joshua was shocked. He understood well what his sister’s condition portended. “We need to involve the Rebbe,” he decided. “Until this day I have never written the details to the Rebbe. I will write a letter describing your condition and request the Rebbe’s blessing. With G-d’s help, everything will be well,” he said with assurance.

Several days passed, but Joshua did not receive a reply from the Rebbe. One night, Joshua had a dream. The Rebbe appeared to him and said, “Do not worry; I work slowly.”

The dream was extremely realistic. Joshua awoke and could barely wait until morning to inform his sister. Naturally, she did not receive news of the dream with the same enthusiasm.

On the designated day Joanna appeared in the hospital for surgery. She was already lying on the gurney, undergoing the final preparations for the operation. Suddenly a nurse entered the room and called out: “It is impossible to operate now! According to her test results, she had been taking pain medication, which could cause her not to wake up from the anesthesia.”

The only solution was to delay the surgery for several weeks, during which she would not take the pain medication.

Several weeks passed, and Joanna went for an ultrasound. The doctors wanted to make sure that the tumors had not grown to an extent that they would no longer be able to operate.

The reality, however, was otherwise. The tumors had actually shrunk.

Several weeks later, Joanna went for further tests, which showed that the tumors had disappeared completely.


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