I would like to share a story with you which, had it not happened to me, I would have never have believed ever took place. It transpired in two segments, and by the end, I was a changed man. It all began in the summer of 2014 (5774). My then-28-year-old daughter took a trip to Israel with an extended stopover in Spain.

Arriving in Israel, she noticed swelling in her right arm, which she attributed to a bug bite or something she ate. Naturally, she didn’t give it much thought. But the swelling persisted, and on the Sunday she returned to the United States, she called my cousin, a pediatric oncologist. After hearing the symptoms, he came to the conclusion that it must be a blood clot and advised her to go immediately to the hospital.

Living in Manhattan, she made her way to the New York University Hospital emergency room, where an ultrasound scan confirmed the clot.

Strangely enough, her condition was one that usually appears as a result of activities that demand intensive straining of the arm, such as baseball-pitching or weight-lifting—neither of which my daughter had ever attempted. When she notified me that she was on her way to the hospital, I dropped everything to meet her there.

The doctors decided on a rather simple operation that entailed inserting a tube directly into the clot, through which a dissolvent medicine would be injected. This would be followed by a CT scan to determine if the blood clot had dissipated. It all sounded rather simple. The procedure took place on Tuesday.

When I went to visit her in the recovery room following the operation, she was suddenly overcome with an intense, excruciating pain in her abdomen and back, causing her body to spasm uncontrollably. The doctors injected her with painkillers, and after the pain subsided, she was transferred to the intensive-care unit. The tube that was inserted during the procedure needed to be re-opened, as the short passage of time already caused the slot for the dissolvent medicine to close up.

I slept in the hospital that night. The next morning, we were notified that the treatment for the blood clot would be put on hold because, for no apparent reason, my daughter’s kidneys abruptly stopped functioning. The doctors were baffled as to what had caused the kidney failure, and very soon, every department became involved in her case. She underwent numerous tests, but none of the results pointed to anything that could be deemed the source.

In the meantime, the doctors began to drip liquids into her body to entice the kidneys to begin working again; over time, her body became bloated from the accumulation of liquids. At the end of the week, they began dialysis in the hope of at least cleaning out the poisons from her blood stream. A week-and-a-half on dialysis brought no improvement in her condition. Her situation began to seem hopeless and never-ending.

That’s when I received a call from Rabbi Yitzchak Weber, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in my area. He had heard of our situation and offered to go with me to the Ohel in Queens, N.Y., where I could write to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, for a blessing for my daughter’s recovery. I wasn’t the biggest believer, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

We left the hospital together at 10 p.m., arriving at the Ohel after midnight. I wrote my request, and upon the advice of Rabbi Weber resolved to begin laying tefillin twice a week. That Shabbat, it was decided that my daughter would be transferred to the dialysis department where, in addition to convenience, she would also avoid the risk of contracting any of the diseases that might have been more prevalent in the ICU.

On Sunday morning, after two weeks of endless tests, dialysis and IV drips, my daughter began showing signs of recovery. She went to the bathroom for the first time in weeks, a clear indication that her kidneys had begun functioning once again, just as suddenly as they had collapsed two-and-a-half weeks earlier.

Over the course of the following week, she released 28 liters of fluid that her body had accumulated from two weeks of her kidneys not functioning. She was soon back to normal, and upon being released from the hospital, the doctors prescribed oral blood-thinners. Nine months later, the blood clot disappeared.

There is no evident medical explanation for all that happened—not for her kidney failure, nor for her sudden recovery. Although the doctors remain mystified by this medical mystery, I am not, considering the fact that her recovery took place just two days following my visit to the Ohel.

In January 2015 (5775), I was sitting in my office when I suddenly sneezed very hard. I felt a sharp pain on my left side, and I attributed it to a pulled muscle. Although I was in a lot of pain, I felt better after a few days.

Shortly afterwards, I was again sitting in my office when strangely enough, the scene repeated itself. The pain wasn’t as intense as in the first instance, but the next morning, I noticed a huge bruise on my left side. I visited my doctor, who sent me straight to the hospital on suspicion of internal bleeding. After running some scans and tests, the doctors determined that the bruising was a result of an artery I must have torn when I sneezed.

Alarmingly, the scans pointed to something much greater that had no connection to the bruising. There was an 8.7-centimeter growth on my left kidney that was releasing blood as well. In retrospect, the sneezing and bruising were actually an act of Divine providence, as they prompted me to have myself examined, thereby uncovering the much greater issue.

After three days in the hospital, the doctors informed me that the bleeding had stopped. Though I was being released, they advised me to consult with a nephrologist right away. Upon consulting with one doctor, I was told that no biopsy was necessary, as there was little chance that the growth was not cancerous, and that an operation was necessary to remove most, if not all, of the kidney. I asked the doctor if the surgery could wait until after my vacation scheduled a couple months later, and he assured me it was OK. Nevertheless, I sought out the opinions of two more specialists—one from the University of Pennsylvania and the other from the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Both concurred that the procedure should take place as soon as possible.

I decided to undergo the operation with the Fox Chase medical team, and we scheduled for Feb. 12 (Tevet 21). Rabbi Weber, with whom I had grown closer with as a result of my daughter’s situation, suggested we go visit the Ohel and ask for a blessing that all should go well. Once there, I wrote my note, in which I asked the Rebbe for a blessing for a complete recovery. In the days leading up to my operation, I underwent various tests to monitor the growth in my kidney, and it was quickly decided that its full removal would be fine, as my other kidney was in full working order.

At one point, the doctor administered a chest scan as well. The results proved to be terrifying. Two lymph nodes—the size of 3.5 centimeters and 3 centimeters—were detected behind my trachea. This looked very suspicious, as it was the exact area to where the cancer from the kidney was most expected to spread. If this was the case, then the disease was already in stage 4. At first, the doctor was hesitant to specify the implication of this, but upon my insistence for a clear prognosis, he informed me that the average life expectancy of a stage 4 patient was less than three years.

That night, Rabbi Weber called, as he often did, to hear an update of my situation. When I shared the grim prognosis, he had one question for me: What exactly had I written in my letter to the Rebbe? When I told him I had simply asked for a complete recovery, he was surprised. “You should have asked for a miracle,” he gently chided me. He suggested that I write another note with that request, which he then sent with an acquaintance of his to be placed at the Ohel.

The day of my operation arrived. The surgery stretched on for more than six hours—much longer than expected. Afterwards, the doctor spoke to my family, explaining that everything about the kidney they had extracted screamed cancer (it was sent for further testing to confirm the expected and seemingly obvious diagnosis). If confirmed, I would have to undergo an intensive and lengthy treatment to battle the disease . . . and we could only hope for the best.

After five days of anxious waiting for the lab results, my doctor came back with unbelievable news. The growth was benign! He had made sure that the head pathologist himself thoroughly examined the kidney, and lo and behold, not one cancer cell was detected.

I must tell you that when I chose my doctor for this procedure, I made certain to choose the most experienced and acclaimed. My doctor had personally performed 6,000 similar procedures, and his medical group at Fox Chase had completed more than 15,000 such operations. From all these cases, he said he had never seen an instance similar to mine. The size, texture, look and composition of the growth shouted cancer, but the tests have proven it to be completely clean!

That Thursday, I underwent a biopsy to determine whether the lymph nodes detected in my chest scan were infected. Following the test, I went home to await the results and was feeling quite optimistic. I had recovered very well from the surgery the week before, and I felt strong and healthy.

The next day, a friend came to visit me at home, and as I put up the tea kettle to boil, I was suddenly attacked by tremendous pain. All at once, my hearing dulled, my speech became slurred, and I couldn’t stand on my feet. I was rushed to the nearest hospital, where it was determined that I had suffered three successive mini-strokes. Astonishingly, I recovered quickly from this as well; within a week, I was back home.

Soon thereafter, the results of my biopsy came back clean.

The only possible explanation my doctor managed to come up with was that I had truly contracted the disease, and in some inexplicable way, my body had absorbed it—a medical phenomenon that defies comprehension. At that point, I was not even surprised, as it was evident that I was the beneficiary of extraordinary blessings.

Every detail from start to finish was truly a part of this miraculous tapestry of events, beginning with the sneezing and bruising, which, having no connection to my kidney disease, merely served as a warning signal for me to have myself examined. It all ended with a clean bill of health, despite the grim prognosis of the doctors.

Contemplating all this, I was stunned by a recollection that still makes my hair stand on end every time I think about it. When I had asked the Rebbe for a blessing for my daughter half-a-year earlier following her kidney failure, I had written that, if necessary, I was ready to sacrifice myself and take her place. Today, I know that one must not ask for such things.

Soon after, I made a dinner to give thanks and celebrate my miracle, where I announced that I would be traveling to the Ohel to give thanks and express my gratitude, and I urged that anybody in need of a blessing should join me. I rented a limo bus, and we filled it with people.

Since then, I have arranged regular trips to the Ohel, accompanying and assisting first-time visitors.

My parents are Holocaust survivors, and my father became very anti-religious as a result of his experiences. This is the type of home that I was raised in. Without a doubt, the episodes recounted above have completely changed my outlook on life, imbuing me with an entirely new appreciation and sense for true fulfillment. I now lay tefillin every day, attend shul on Shabbat, and have fully dedicated myself to assisting Rabbi Weber in building Chabad in our community.

And that is the recap of two different stories that wound up having happy endings.