It all started a few days before Rosh HaShana, as I was escorting three of my children to Lod Airport for their flight to New York, to spend the month of Tishrei in 770 in the synagogue of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Just thirty minutes into the journey, we were involved in an accident and got sent to the nearest hospital. Thank G-d, we escaped with only minor injuries.
After a few days, I began to feel intense, nagging, and unbearable pain in my back. At first, I thought it was just an after-effect from the accident, and it would subside with time. However, as the pain became even more annoying, I decided to place an urgent call to our family physician, Dr. Matti Irlechtman. His final diagnosis made my heart jump. “This is not a pain stemming from any injuries you received during the accident,” he explained. “You have a kidney stone.”
He went on to explain that I didn’t have to rush into an operation, but should rather wait and see if the stone would pass naturally.
Simchas Torah arrived in Beit E-l. We usually participate in the festivities with the Sephardic community, dancing joyfully. We did so this year as well, but my feelings of joy were cut short.
Just a few minutes after we returned home, I felt that I couldn’t move any longer. The pains were excruciating, and we went immediately to the Har HaTzofim Hospital in Jerusalem, where they made an x-ray and confirmed what our family doctor had already determined: the source of the pains was a large kidney stone. They prescribed some medications and suggested that I continue with this form of treatment through my local health clinic.
A few days later, as the pains once again became unbearable, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and went straight to the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem. The doctors on call did a CT exam and looked at me with eyes agape. “A kidney stone of this size,” they explained, “no longer has any chance of passing naturally. You must have an operation to remove it.”
I was hospitalized in the urological ward for a few days, yet despite the intense pain, I rejected the advice of the doctors to have surgery. I was simply afraid.
I tried everything, from Chinese acupuncture to reflexology. I drank a variety of herbal teas designed to soften the kidney stone and enable it to leave the body naturally, but nothing seemed to help. My condition remained the same, while the pains just got worse.
In the meantime, my children returned to Israel, and quickly came to the ward where I was hospitalized. In general, the situation was not all that pleasant. I lay in a hospital bed, writhing in pain.
The messenger who brought me a ray of hope was our new son-in-law, Netanel Alon. When he heard about my medical condition, he made a farbrengen (Chassidic gathering) in the Rebbe’s synagogue in my merit and for my recovery. At the climax of the farbrengen, when everyone was wishing me good health, the participants made good resolutions and he asked for the Rebbe’s blessing via Igros Kodesh, the Rebbe’s published letters. The Rebbe’s clear and precise answer amazed him and all his friends.
When he called to tell me about this answer, despite the fact that I regularly write to the Rebbe, I was very excited and deeply moved. The answer received appears in Vol. 22, pg. 259:
In response to his letter, in which he writes about the state of his health and the opinion of the doctors:
It is correct what he writes that in many cases similar to his, and perhaps even more serious, the stone passes through proper treatment without an operation, and the stated treatment includes hot baths and drinking in large quantities, but it is also customary that the fluids include a quantity of vegetative fats and the like, and it would be proper to ask the doctors about this.
Despite all this, the kidney stones continued to cause me great agony, and I decided that come what may, I must make an appointment for an operation and put an end to this, once and for all. I was determined to rid myself of these pains no matter what it took, and after my efforts to solve the problem through alternative medicine had failed to bear fruit, I decided to go with the surgery option. Still, the Rebbe’s answer continued to flash in my mind, although I didn’t actually know how to interpret it.
On Sunday, the day before the surgery was due to take place, I appeared at the hospital for a preparatory check-up. After I went through all the required examinations, the final step before going into the operating room, I decided to ask the doctor to do one more CT scan. The Rebbe’s answer had given me no rest, and even though my request seemed a bit ridiculous to the medical staff, I steadfastly insisted upon it. “I feel better than I did yesterday,” I said to the doctor. He looked at me somewhat resentful, but also sympathetic. In the end, he agreed to my request and I went in for the CT exam.
After a few minutes, the doctor suddenly entered the room and said to me, “Madam, you can go home. There’s nothing for you to do here.”
At first, I didn’t understand what he wanted from me. “What do you mean, I can go home?” I asked in a bewildered tone.
The doctor said matter-of-factly, “You have nothing; the stone has disappeared.”
“How do you explain that?” I asked him.
“I don’t explain it. This is simply a medical miracle. Not so much because the stone came out –that happens quite often, but when it passes, it is usually very painful, yet you felt nothing whatsoever. That’s the miracle.’”