Rabbi Yosef Weiss is the author of several popular books entitled “Visions of Greatness.” Now, with the release of the first volume in an all-new series called “Visions of Virtue,” readers will enjoy the same brand of fantastic and awe-inspiring stories that have made “Visions” a household word, with a fresh new look and design. As we stand on the threshold of Yom Kippur, a time when all are in need of Rachamei Shamayim, what better tool do we have in our arsenal than tefillah? No sincere tefillah is ever rejected by Hashem, and this is especially so when we daven for the needs of others in Klal Yisrael. Take this sample story, excerpted from “Visions of Virtue,” into the Yom Hadin with you, and may it be a zechus for a G’mar Chasimah Tovah!
Shimi and Shalom Storch were summoned to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
“I’m afraid that your mother Ruth suffered a heart attack during surgery. We managed to save her life, but she has lapsed into a coma,” the doctor intoned.
“What’s the prognosis?”
“Not very good, but there’s always hope.”
The family stayed at their mother’s side for three months, ignoring the increasingly negative predictions of the doctors. Somehow, Ruth clung to life, and they constantly beseeched Hashem for her recovery.
One day, two people approached Shalom with a request while he was in the waiting room. “Rabbi, there is a patient in the ICU who is critically ill and asked to see a rabbi. Can you come?”
Shalom was brought to the gravely ill patient, and he discreetly withdrew. “Rabbi,” the woman whispered, “I endured the horrors of the Holocaust. Although I am not observant, I never lost my faith. Please daven for me.”
Shalom thought for a moment before he responded.
“Let me share a well-known story with you. A woman approached a rabbi in Israel and asked him to pray for her, as she had been married for many years and only had one child.
“‘Please pray that I have another child,’ she begged.
“‘There are so many other men who are of greater stature. Why don’t you approach them?’
“‘Rabbi, I have an instinctive feeling that you are the conduit for my blessing.’
“‘Look, I truly understand your feelings, as my daughter has been married for many years and is still childless. I have an idea. The Gemara says that if someone has a need and he prays for someone else who is suffering from the same problem, then his prayers are answered first. I suggest that you pray for my daughter, while I pray for you.’
“The woman agreed. Many years passed, and the rabbi stuck to his end of the arrangement, although he never heard from that woman. Eventually, his daughter adopted a child. Then came the thrilling news that she was expecting a child of her own. On the same day that he celebrated the birth of his grandchild, he received a phone call from that woman, excitingly inviting him to the bris of her son. The two babies were born within the same hour!
“I suggest that we adopt the same concept. I will daven for you. I will go to my mother’s bedside where the Shechinah—Divine Presence—rests and will mention your name, Tova bas Feiga, and you will daven for my mother, Rivka bas Dina.”
The patient agreed. She repeated Ruth’s name several times, and Shalom returned to his mother’s side, where he davened for both his mother and the other woman. Remarkably, both women recovered and walked out of the hospital on their own two feet.
The shiur had just ended, and Yosef Berman approached his close friend.
“Nochum Feder, do you have a moment?”
“Sure. What’s up?”
“I know that you have a daughter in shidduchim, and I need some advice. My daughter is also in shidduchim, but absolutely nothing is happening. My wife and I are constantly davening, but we haven’t yet received a single phone call. Are we doing something wrong?”
“I truly understand how you feel, because we are confused as well. Nothing has been suggested for my daughter either.”
It was quite ironic, because Yosef and Nochum had shared the same dormitory room in yeshivah, had gotten married within a couple of weeks of each other, had lived in the same apartment building, and had had their girls a few weeks apart. It was no surprise that they were sharing the same problem, as well!
“Look, I just had an idea. I heard a story about a person who was having difficulty in finding a shidduch for his daughter. His rav suggested that he find someone else with the same problem, and they should daven for each other. Why don’t we do the same thing?”
Yosef agreed, and started davening for Nochum’s daughter.
At first, he found it difficult to daven for Nochum’s daughter as he did for his own daughter, but after a few days, Yosef was able to muster complete concentration as he beseeched for Heavenly mercy for his friend’s daughter.
A short while later, a shidduch was suggested for Yosef’s daughter. After a few weeks, it was obvious that the shidduch was going to culminate in a mazel tov. Yosef now struggled to regain the same passion that he had achieved earlier. He berated himself, “How can I abandon Nochum now?”
He worked on strengthening his concentration and continued davening for Nochum’s daughter. Two weeks later, Yosef arrived at the shiur with the wonderful announcement that his daughter was engaged, and that the vort would be held that Sunday. He felt uncomfortable as he approached Nochum with the news, but that was only until the next day.
“Guess what?” Nochum began. “My daughter just got engaged, and we’re also holding the vort on Sunday night!”
“Wow, that’s wonderful! Tell me, how long has this shidduch been going on?”
“Funny you should ask. It started just two weeks ago, but things went so smoothly that we were able to conclude it already.”
Yosef was astonished when he realized that Nochum’s daughter’s shidduch had started on the same day that he had renewed his efforts and concentration in davening for his friend.