In the summer of 1929 the sixth Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880–1950), visited the Land of Israel. The rebbe departed the Holy Land on Thursday, August 22, two days before the Arab riots of 1929, in which scores of Jews were massacred in Hebron and Jerusalem. Among the dead and wounded were several of the rebbe’s family relations and disciples.
In a letter to the then chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak writes:
“When the sad news of the pogroms perpetrated in the Holy Land reached me on Sunday [August 25], on the boat from Alexandria to Trieste, I fell ill with a kidney ailment out of sheer pain and distress. Thanks to G‑d, the most precious of men, the wise and truly G‑d-fearing Dr. Wallach was with us on the boat, and did much to relieve my illness . . . In such a state I was forced to continue my journey here; for several days after my arrival I was still unable to recover from the effect upon me of the conflagration with which G‑d scorched the house of Jacob in general, and specifically from reading the list of the killed and slaughtered, the holy martyrs, may their souls be bound in the bond of life . . .”
Attending patients at the hospital Dr. Moshe Wallach founded in 1892.
On another occasion, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak related that at the conclusion of the voyage Dr. Wallach approached him and begged his forgiveness. “Rebbe!” he said, “How can I atone for my being the cause of your illness?”
“You, the cause of my illness?” asked the rebbe in amazement.
The Shaare Tzedek Hospital on Jaffa Street, built by Dr. Wallach in 1902.
“Yes,” said the doctor. “There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not been on the boat with you, you would not have fallen ill. You, Rebbe, are a man upon whom the entire Jewish nation depends; surely, G‑d would not have allowed a life-threatening illness to befall you unless the instrument of your cure was on the ship with you.”