The first time Rabbi Menachem Kutner and Rabbi Yossi Swerdlov of the Chabad Terror Victims Project met Sgt. Ohad Benyishai of the Israel Defense Forces, he was lying unconscious in a hospital bed, having sustained significant trauma to his head. He had been critically injured this summer during “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza, where he was deployed with his elite Egoz commando unit. At that point, it was uncertain if he would survive.

In the months that followed, Benyishai regained consciousness and slowly began relearning how to function. With great effort, he mastered the Hebrew alphabet, and had even managed to say two words, ima (mom) and abba (dad), but no more.

On the second night of Chanukah, the rabbis visited the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, where he was recovering. There, around 70 wounded soldiers, their families and Chabad volunteers gathered for a special celebration and menorah-lighting.

Benyishai was invited to light the menorah together with Kutner. The rabbi said the blessings, and Benyishai held the shamash (helper candle) with his functional left hand. With the rabbi’s assistance, he lit the two candles.

Then suddenly, the room went quiet as Benyishai slowly began to mouth the words to “Haneirot Halalu” and “Maoz Tzur” along with Kutner. The familiar tunes that he had learned during his childhood had brought back his ability to speak. He was talking!

His parents ran to him, and showered him with hugs and kisses with tears streaming down their cheeks.

They had their Chanukah miracle.

Please continue to pray for the ongoing recovery of Ohad ben Erica, and the brave men and women of the IDF who have sacrificed so much to protect our precious homeland.