The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 10 July 2004 / 21 Tammuz 5764

Lifesaving Stubbornness

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"Shalom", said the excited voice on the telephone to the author of the Hebrew book "Tuvcha Yabiyu", "Im the fellow you wrote a story about in your book".

This introduction triggered memories of a touching story about a yeshiva student scheduled for radiation treatment in an Israeli hospital. He was informed that he could only receive such treatment wearing sterilized hospital clothes. The hospital could not provide him with a sterilized four-cornered garment and tzitzit, so he had one of his own properly washed and sterilized in order to avoid being without this mitzvah while undergoing such serious treatment.

To his dismay the nurse in charge of the treatment refused to administer it unless he removed the tzitzit garment. He stubbornly refused to comply and sat for hours outside the radiation department hoping for some miracle. The miracle did come but not in the way he expected. One of the senior doctors of that department noticed him and asked what he was waiting for. Upon hearing his problem he entered the department office to speak to the nurse. When he returned to our hero, he was in shock.

"I took a look at the records of your case", he said, "and the treatment you were to receive. The nurse had accidentally mixed things up and the treatment she would have given you could have proved fatal!"

The boy whose life had been saved by his stubbornness for the mitzvah of tzitzit went on to tell the author that he had enjoyed a complete recovery a couple of years later and was now happily married.

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