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The Rebbe Cared Deeply for My Dying Daughter

The Rebbe Cared Deeply for My Dying Daughter

Photo: Franco Giovanella
Photo: Franco Giovanella

It was 1976, and I traveled across the entire country of Israel seeking blessings from righteous sages for my daughter’s health and recovery. She had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and we were desperately trying to find a cure for her. We tried everything and anything, also seeking blessings and prayers from the holy ones among our nation. Many prayed on her behalf, and we received many blessings for her cure, yet we continued to seek more.

While visiting New York to see certain medical specialists, we made an appointment with Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory. I expected this visit to be like the many others I had experienced with great sages. This time, I brought my daughter with me.

We entered the Rebbe’s study, and the Rebbe rose for us and asked us to sit down.

I got straight to the point. “Rebbe, I have heard that many miracles come from this room. Please give my daughter a blessing that she should be cured!” I got straight to the point. “Rebbe, I have heard that many miracles come from this room. Please give my daughter a blessing that she should be cured!”

The Rebbe responded, “Only G‑d does miracles. I go to the grave of my father-in-law [the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn], and beseech him to intercede before G‑d on behalf of the requests I receive.”

I begged, “Please go to your father-in-law’s grave to pray on my daughter’s behalf.”

The Rebbe signaled kindly that the audience was finished, and escorted us with his eyes as we left.

When we reached the door, the Rebbe turned to me and asked, “How are you flying back home?”

I explained to the Rebbe that we had planned to fly through London and then on to Israel.

“I think,” the Rebbe suggested, “you should change the ticket to a direct flight from New York to Israel. The humidity in London will not be good for your daughter’s health.”

With those words I left the Rebbe’s office. And with those words my life was changed. We were with the Rebbe for less than two minutes, and yet I felt that the Rebbe truly cared for our daughter. So deep was his concern that he showed interest even in our flight plans and my daughter’s comfort on the trip home.

A few months later, my daughter succumbed to her illness. There is no greater anguish than a parent losing a child. Yet, through my daughter, the Rebbe left his mark permanently on my life.

Rabbi Yekutiel Farkash is a renowned author of scholarly books a and sought-after authority on Jewish law.

As told to his son Dovid.
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David Aharon Lndzon Toronto, ON Canada August 14, 2011

on prayer in addition to Public Prayer and Tehilim, and asking through the tzadik, there is another path as suggested by Rebbe Nachman - that of hisbodeduth, aloneness with the creator. you talk to G-d in your own language, for as long as you wish. Like a child to his/her father. Reply

William tel aviv, israel August 7, 2011

g-d and prayer i dont know if god answers our prayers. maybe he (or she) listens but ultimately it' s up to us. it's no use praying to win the lottery if we dont buy a ticket. a wise rabbi once told me that if you want to achieve something important, you pray then take action. i think he meant pray and then take responsible action. i dont always remember or even like to do the first bit, because i got the results that i didnt want so often but if i dont do the second bit, why would anyone else (includingG-d) bother? they might just copy the attitude of not bothering..

i prayed for a lot of people - parents, friends - who were dying of the most horrible illnesses. all of these people did amazing things for other people. by comparison, i did almost nothing and i'm still here.. and they are not.

no-one can explain that. Reply

Anonymous pierrefonds, quebec via August 5, 2011

gods love for us i feel for you, i lost my brother and mother Reply

Suzanne U Pittsburgh, USA August 2, 2011

Prayers answered G-d always answers prayer. Sometimes it is "yes", sometimes "no" and sometimes "wait" but He always answers. He loves you very much and He loves your daughter. I watched my best friend as she went made the journey homeward to Heaven. As her body grew weaker, her spirit grew stronger. You will see your precious daughter again. :-) Reply

ruth housman marshfield, ma August 2, 2011

a tzaddik a truly righteous person knows all healing comes from G-d. We can enjoy the privilege of healing each other and those practitioners of all forms of medicine are ultimately humbled or should be. Those who heal and there are many forms of healing are engaged in a form of holy work as in all tikkun.

At times a person will appear to effect a truly miraculous healing. It's all G-d. We cannot understand why some and not others. I deeply believe that whether here, or there, meaning Death, it's not over. For me this is a deep knowledge difficult to impart.

We are here as souls and we depart as souls. We cannot stand suffering if we are humane. We must climb that ladder of awareness, of sensitivity toward each other.
That IS the task. Strangely perhaps I am seeing that as G-d is within us all G-d too suffers with us but knows there is light at the end of that tunnel of darkness. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We never part with G-d. Reply

Esther Liba NJ August 2, 2011

To William in Tel Aviv You acknowledge your admiration for the author’s faith. You believe in kind people. You try to help others when you can and find helping others most rewarding. Sounds to me like G-d has answered not only your prayers, but all our prayers for a kinder, more perfect world. Thanks for doing your part! Reply

William Tel aviv August 2, 2011

How I admire your faith. I believe in kind people. god doesn't seem to answer my prayers so I try to help others when I can. Sometimes that 's most rewarding. Reply

Shimon Walles Ra''anana , Israel July 31, 2011

Sad but Special This is such a sad story but it is also very special. It is sad because the girl passed away but special becuase it also brings meaning in her passing and the powerful connection to the Tzaddik under the circumstances.
Thankyou for having the courage to share such a story...
May there be no more death...only simchas! Reply

Anonymous chandler July 15, 2011

prayer not answered very inspirational that the father could come away from so much pain and hope to have a miracle for his daughter not answered/ Reply

Cheryl Owings Steilacoom, WA July 14, 2011

Healing I too had many prayers for my ill son and he also passed away. It will be one this Shabbat and I can now see clearly it was G-d's will and the best choice for my son. I miss him very much but will see him again. Bless be the Righteous Judge! Reply

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