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The Real Doctor

Written by Y Alt, 21/5/2019

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     The Real Doctor         

A couple who didn’t have children for twenty years went to a big expert in fertility in Vilna. After the tests, the doctor proclaimed that this couple would be unable to have children. Following this, the wife went home and davened, “Hashem, I don’t care what the doctors say. I want to have children and I know You could do it for me.” The Leshem[1] heard her crying and asked if everything was okay? She related what had happened in Vilna with the doctor. She then said, “But I know that Hashem could give me children anyway. Therefore, I was davening with tears.” The Leshem told her that if you believe Hashem could do what the doctor said is impossible, then I guarantee you within a year, you will have a baby. R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was born a year later.


The Sefer Toras Avos[2] tells us that when the doctors give up on one’s  illness[3] and the patient strengthens himself and puts his trust in Hashem, then all the gates of healing and salvation are opened.


A famous Rebbitzen once said, “We know the doctor has no power nor does the antibiotic. But we are doing it because Hashem put us in a body and sometimes He heals through doctors.” One should recite the Tefila before taking medicine that it should be Your will, Hashem, that through this, I should be cured-...שיהא עסק זה לי לרפואה.... R’ Nachman of Breslov remarked that Hashem is so great that He could bring a Refua through doctors.


In the 1980s, the wife of a poor family that wanted to feed her children with fresh fruits and vegetables, couldn’t afford to. Instead, she would daven before they ate, “Hashem, put all the nourishment they need into this bread: all the vitamins and minerals, carbs, protein and so on.” She related that her children would wake up in the morning with rosy cheeks, happy and energized. At times, they would receive Tzedaka money and she would then buy whole grain rice, salad, chicken and the like. But then she would forget to daven and they would wake up with runny noses, ear infections, and wouldn’t feel well. We, of course, need to do our Hishtadlus; effort. Hashem wants us to live responsibly but not to anoint anyone king besides Him.[4]


Let us work on integrating this, especially in this month איר, which is an acronym for אני י-ה-ו-ה רפאך; I am Hashem, your Healer.[5]

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] The Leshem was R’ Shlomo Elyashiv who lived from 1841-1926. He studied in the Yeshivos of Minsk and Telz. In addition to his own works on Kabbalah (Leshem), he was instrumental in printing works of earlier kabbalists. He also taught R’ Kook (1865-1935) Kabbalah when R’ Kook was the young rabbi of the town of Zoimel. In 1922, when R’ Kook was serving as chief rabbi of Jerusalem, R’ Elyashiv asked him for assistance in settling in Eretz Yisrael. Due to R’ Kook’s intervention, the great kabbalist, his son-in-law, daughter, and his eleven-year-old grandson (who would grow up to be the great R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv), were allowed to emigrate to the Land of Israel.

[2] אמונה ובטחון, 19

[3] In 2018, the following was revealed: A recent Johns Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors. Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000. Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. 12,000 Americans die yearly from surgery that isn’t necessary. Side-effects from medications given in hospitals kill an additional 106,000. Some 7,000 more die from receiving the wrong medications in error. 

[4] In 2016, this came out: Doctors often get it wrong when predicting how long terminally ill people have left to live. A review of more than 4,600 medical notes where doctors predicted survival showed a wide variation in errors, ranging from an underestimate of 86 days to an overestimate of 93 days. The review of existing research on the subject was carried out by a team at the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at University College London (UCL).

[5] Shemos 15:26

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