Amazing Story: Muslim Woman Calls a Rabbi in to Visit Her Dying Husband

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Rabbi Avraham Lider has been working with sick patients for over 30 years as Director of the Ahavas Chesed organization based in Crown Heights.

He received an urgent call at home 10 days ago from a social worker from a New York hospital.

“There is a lady here who needs to speak to you right away,” the person said. “Her husband is in the ICU, she is sitting by his bedside. His condition is extremely critical, and he is not expected to make it. Can you come to speak with her?”

Rabbi Lider rushed to the intensive care unit where the patient was relying to life support machines. The anguished wife who was waiting to talk to him started to tell him an incredible story:

“Rabbi, I’m a Muslim. My husband, however, is Jewish and he is dying. We have been married for 27 years, but it is his wish that even though he didn’t live like a Jew, he wants to be buried as a Jew.”

Rabbi Lider nodded, but before he could say anything she continued her story, “Rabbi, listen to me. I have pressing family matters to take care of, and I need to travel back to Turkey tomorrow. When my husband dies, please make sure to bury him as a Jew. I think he will want to have a Jewish burial. Can you help, please?”

Rabbi Lider told her “we don’t really pre-plan funerals!”

She insisted, “If my husband dies in the meantime I want to give you a letter giving you full authority in writing to bury him and be in charge, in case I am not around.”

Rabbi Lider accepted the note and then went to visited the woman’s husband and prayed for him by his bedside. He continued to do so every day and said a Misheberach for him and talked to the unconscious man.

During this time the man’s wife had gone to Turkey.

Miraculously the man started to get better, and after 4 days he opened his eyes. He was eventually taken off life support and moved to a regular hospital room.

Rabbi Lider was finally able to talk to the conscious man and ask him his name.

“My Hebrew name is Yitzchak,” replied the patient.

The rabbi smiled and asked him another quesiton. “Tell me, do you like kosher chicken soup?” he asked.

“I love it,” said the patient.

He asked the man how he would feel about putting on tefillin. “Last time I put on tefillin was at my bar mitzvah. I’m now 84 years old,” he replied.

The Rabbi came by the next morning with a pot of chicken soup. The patient enjoyed the soup and then put on tefillin for the first time in 70 years.

He said “Shema Yisrael” the Chabad rabbi while his eyes welled up with tears.

Rabbi Lider told Yitzchak that he would be there for him whenever he needed “until he was 120″.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Rabbi Lieder is a Tzadik Nistar. When my husband was in a near fatal car accident twenty years ago, Rabbi Lieder, a total stranger, was uniquely devoted.

  2. Nu
    So. What’s the out come?
    Did he die?
    Get better and live a nother many days, years, is he still alive?
    Did the man become shomer shabbat?
    I feel like I was Left in the middle of a major story
    With no ending.

  3. It’s sad that the tefillin were placed incorrectly on someone who has not worn them in 70 years. They must be placed above the hairline in the area between the eyes, not on the forehead!

  4. im am pretty sure the rabbi is aware of the correct place for the tefillin shel rosh and i would even venture to be dan lekaf zechut that this photo was taken a moment before the tefillin was adjusted to the proper location.

  5. #3 – while you are of course correct in halacha, don’t judge the story so quickly. He might have been in middle of adjusting it at the time the picture was taken.

  6. A pesron had hirhurey Tshuva after so many years. Wven if he didn’t become frum, I am sure Hashem will have rachamim for him for that. I am sure the rabbi placed the tfilif correctly, at the picture you see him putting it.
    Amazing story.

  7. #3 This is the way we believing Jews express ourselves wishing others ‘may you live till 120’….as stated in the Torah Breishis ‘..and he shall live only 120 years’

  8. #4, “I feel like I was Left in the middle of a major story With no ending” Did you want to read a story about his entire life or something??

  9. The person is b’makom sakana; have you ever put tefilin on such a person, in a hospital? There generally isn’t a lot of time for a multitude of reasons; save your chumros for yourself….

  10. #4, “I feel like I was Left in the middle of a major story With no ending” well what were you expecting to read?? a book on his entire life??