Jewish Personalities

A Rebbe Has His Own Diagnostic Tests

Years ago, there was a famous doctor named Professor Fabrikant who always kept a small piece of paper in his pocket. From time to time he would remove it to read its contents. Whenever people questioned him, he responded with a story: A Jew once approached the Rebbe Rashab, Rabbi Sholom Dovber of Lubavitch, and cried, “Rebbe! I’m dying! I’ve just been diagnosed with a terrible illness. The doctors are refusing to operate, even though I’m still a young man. They claim that it won’t help anyway, and I have only three months to live. I can’t die! Rebbe, you must help me!” The Rebbe thought for a moment before answering. “According to what the doctors know,” he then said, “they are right. There’s no use operating on you. But doctors don’t know everything. Whatever I tell you to do you must do immediately as soon as you leave from here.” The chasid nodded in agreement. The Rashab continued. “Pack your belongings and travel to the city of Kharkov. There you will find a doctor named Fabrikant. Tell him that I am instructing him to operate on you.” The Rebbe then put his hands on the man’s shoulders. “Don’t worry, everything will work out.”The chasid followed the Rebbe’s instructions and traveled to Kharkov. When he met the doctor he repeated what the Rebbe had said. The doctor examined the man and performed some tests before pronouncing his verdict: “I’m sorry to tell you that I concur with the other doctors. I cannot perform surgery on you. Right now you have a chance of living for three months.

torah meaning

If you undergo surgery, you will live at the very most for a week.” Brokenhearted, the chasid went back to the Rashab and told him that the professor was refusing to operate. “Don’t cry,” the Rebbe reassured him. “Your salvation is near. Go back and tell the professor that he must operate on you. Even though he doesn’t understand it from a medical perspective, the surgery will save your life. I will also send him a telegram telling him exactly what I told you.” The professor received a telegram that read: “With all due respect, I am asking you to please operate on this man. Even though I know that from a doctor’s point of view it makes no sense, I ask you to do this as a personal favor. I take full responsibility for whatever happens.” When the chasid went back to the doctor he was warmly welcomed. “You don’t have to say anything—I just received the telegram from your rabbi. We are going to operate right now.” As soon as he started the operation the doctor couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The patient had been completely misdiagnosed. If he hadn’t operated on him at that moment he would have surely died the next day. The operation had saved his life. When the man woke up after the surgery Professor Fabrikant was shaking his head in wonder. “Your rabbi is an angel. He was able to see what we couldn’t, even with all of our tests.” The professor kept the telegram in his pocket for the rest of his career as a reminder that he was mere flesh and blood, but there is only one Ultimate Doctor.

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