Monday, April 16, 2012

Shiurim at Heichal Menachem

Resurrecting the Dead

By Rabbi Yisroel Levi Yitzchok Goldberg

It was the summer of 2004, and the first week of my Shlichus - my work as a Chabad emissary, in Rockland County, New York. As soon as I had a phone number, I received a call from a woman by the name of Ginny Stern. She told me that she was sitting with her father in the local old age home and that he was dying. She asked that I come immediately to "say the prayers".

"What a way to begin shlichus," I thought to myself, "to go recite the Viduy (confession) service with someone, as he unfortunately nears death." Since I was new on the job, I immediately contacted my mentor for advice, and he guided me through all the necessary steps and details. I grabbed my tefillin and dashed to the car.

When I arrived at the nursing home and entered the room, I saw Ginny's father lying on the bed, his wife sitting at his side, and Ginny sitting at the foot of the bed. With distress and worry in her eyes, Ginny beckoned me closer.

She started to tell me of her father: how he came from an observant family in Romania, fought in World War II, and eventually made it here to the United States. I inched closer to the old man, who was barely able to open his eyes, let alone talk. I began singing the Adon Olam prayer out loud, hoping that he would at least hear my voice. Before I knew it, he was singing along with me, word-by-word, in a rich European accent! Mother and daughter looked at each other in amazement.

At that point, I asked Ginny if I could put tefillin on him and recite with him the Shema, before starting Viduy. "Sure," she said, "He loves to pray!" I lifted his heavy, exhausted arm, and as I wrapped the tefillin straps round and around, it seemed to get lighter and lighter. As soon as I placed the head tefillin on his head, his eyes opened and twinkled. I began reciting the Shema, and he said it clearly, along with me. His face looked as if he had been transported back to his cheder in Pre-war Romania. With every word, he was coming more and more alive.

I continued to put tefillin on him over the next few days, and eventually he checked out of the nursing home and returned to his own home. I stayed in contact with Ginny and visited periodically to put tefillin on her father. Ginny then tracked down a cousin, a Satmar chasid from Monsey, who came almost daily for two years to put tefillin on Mr. Stern. I was touched by his great commitment.

Mr. Stern remained alive for three and a half years after our original visit. Ginny testifies, "On that first visit, when he put on tefillin, my father literally came back to life."

Halachic Note:
Maimonides says that one who puts on tefillin regularly is blessed with long life (Laws of Tefillin, 4:26)--for Isaiah states (38:16): "When G-d is upon you, you shall live." (See Rashi on Menachos, 44b).

From a forthcoming book by Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin.

Mrs. Rena Schleifer Sitting Shiva

Boruch Daya HaEmes - We are deeply saddened to inform you of the passing of Mr. Henry Schaulowicz A"H, the father of Mrs. Rena Schleifer.

Rena will be sitting Shiva in Monsey beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, through Thursday evening at her home, 39 Plum Road.

.המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

Mazel Tov Kushnirs!

Mazel tov to Dr. Shimon and Lynne Kushnir on the birth of a granddaughter born to Adam and Joy Kushnir of San Diego, California!

Mazel Tov Solomons!

Mazel tov to Yossi and Fraida Solomon on the birth of a baby boy!

Shifra and Puah arranges homemade meals from people in the community for mothers of newborn children from our community. If you are able to cook a meal, please sign up on MealTrain or contact Karen Schild at 845-354-4898 or

Mazel Tov Lesches Family!

Mazel tov to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Lesches on the birth of a grandson born to Rabbi Choni and Gitty Lesches of Crown Heights!