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A Crumpled Letter

A Crumpled Letter

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From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

Those who have attended his concerts know that Dudu beautifully intersperses medleys of songs throughout his concerts, both soul-stirring and humorous, both cantorial and traditional, composed in Yiddish, Hebrew or English. And along with his songs, Dudu adeptly sprinkles in his own unique blend of anecdotes, jokes and short but genuine life stories.

When Dudu performed at the banquet event of the Davos retreat organized by the EJSN, he brought tears to my eyes—tears unleashed by unrestrained laughter as well as poignancy, beauty and hope.

It was at Dudu's concert that I learned, too, of his trials and struggles during his prestigious singing career—and the many times that he needed to turn down performances that were scheduled for Friday nights, Saturday matinees or other Jewish holidays.

But over and over again, regardless of the fame or career advancement that these opportunities could have afforded him, Dudu refused to bend the law to play on these holy days.

As he spoke and sang and related some of his tests and triumphs, I wondered: In a world where careers could be destroyed by such refusals, what provided Dudu with the fortitude to remain true to what he knew was right, despite what must have been amazing temptation?

And then Dudu shared with us a special story.

The story took place more than half a century ago, with a young woman who was in her late stages of pregnancy. She was devastated to hear her doctor's verdict.

"You must terminate the pregnancy," he sternly warned her. "There is danger to you and/or the baby and I advise you to abort immediately."

Feelings of devastation, panic and despair overcame her. What should she do? How should she proceed?

Before coming to a resolution, the woman sought the advice of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The response that she received was swift and decisive: "The mother and the baby will both be healthy."

It took a great deal of courage for the woman to disregard her doctor's dire advice, but the woman's faith in the words of the holy Rebbe wouldn't allow her to do otherwise. She saved the piece of paper on which the Rebbe's response was written, in the hope of being able to one day show it to her unborn child.

I picture her glancing at this paper meaningfully whenever her faith faltered. I see her fingering it tenderly during her most tense moments and holding it close to her heart as a precious lifeline, to invigorate her and fortify her decision.

More than a month later, a robust baby was born to a healthy mother.

"The woman in the story," Dudu relates passionately, "was my maternal grandmother.

"And the child was my mother."

Dudu pauses for impact.

"And this," Dudu takes out a folded paper from his pocket, "is the letter that the Rebbe wrote to my grandmother."

Dudu passed around a copy of the letter for all of us to see.

And as he continues singing, I am wondering if in times of tense or difficult decisions, he too, fingers this paper tenderly. I wonder if he, too, holds it close to his heart and draws the faith and fortitude necessary not to falter, but to do what he knows is right and true.


Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Mrs. Chana Weisberg via mychabad.org September 11, 2009

re: correction Thank you for writing. The article has been changed to reflect the correct details. Reply

sarah from brooklyn September 11, 2009

correction I heard this story from Dudu himself a few years ago at a performance he made for Chabad, and I believe he said the woman in the story was his maternal grandmother and the baby was his mother.
The story and the message are still the same, but it's nicer if the details are accurate.
The way you write the story is beautiful and very inspiring.
Thank you. Reply

peggy kight pascagoula, USA September 11, 2009

The Story Of Dudu This was such a touching story Dudu told about his mother and himself as an unborn child.what faith that must have arose in his mothers heart when the Rabbi gave her this inspiring hope about herself and unborn child.
for the Rabbi had to have that reassurance from the God of heaven to reveal to Dudus' mother this truth.it would be more than wonderful if more people in the world had the kind of faith the Rabbi and mother in this true story had.most likley a lot more children would be alive today.it's amazing story. Reply

Kenneth Tremble Brisbane, Australia September 11, 2009

The Doctor What about the doctor? Was he brought to face his big mistake? There is one thing my generation of doctors of the Workers Generation can be proud of. They lived up to Hippocratic Oath DO NO HARM. This is what Baby Boomers Generation and Generation X doctors are not doing. Both my wife and daughter died as a result of their misdiagnosis. Reply

Natana Pesya Kulakofski Worcester, MA USA September 7, 2009

I had a piece of paper, too bh
When I was going through a particularly difficult financial/legal time in my life, I had written on a Post-It note,
"Tract gut, und vet zein gut," think well, and it will be well. I kept it on my computer monitor at work and , after that assignment terminated inside my favorite siddur (prayer book). Written inside that same siddur and inside a notebook I use at classes are the words, "Yeshuat Hashem keherif ayin," the salvation of G-d comes in the blink of an eye.
I have merited to witness miracles in my life, and these two inspiring phrases have helped me make my way to a couple of them. Reply

Kayo Tokyo, Japan via chabad.jp September 6, 2009

Such a bright story Thank you for a wonderful story. I will try to remember this story when the secular world demands me to forget about Judaism. Reply

Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the author of Tending the Garden: The Unique Gifts of the Jewish Woman and four other books. Weisberg is a noted educator and columnist and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul.
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