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Saved from Corona by the Merit of the Gaon

The amazing dream and the tefila that was accepted * The remarkable Gaon, head of the Sanhedrin in the time of Napoleon * New from the House of ‘Machon Yerushalayim’

Only a few months ago, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many Jewish communities throughout the world were hit hard, including the Jewish community in France, especially the community in Strasbourg.  

One of the rabbis of the Sephardic community in the city, also known as one of its outstanding Torah scholars, contracted the virus and was hospitalized in serious condition. He lay on his sickbed intubated and respirated for several weeks, as the community fearfully poured out their hearts to Hashem to grant him a complete recovery. 

One night, one of the Rabbi’s close followers had a dream in which an aged Jew with a shining countenance appeared to him, holding a sefer in his hand. According to the follower’s description, the elderly man was none other than Maran the Rosh Yeshiva, the Gaon HaRav Elazar Menachem Man Shach, z”tzl who was holding the sefer, ‘Yad David’ written by the Gaon Rabi David Zinzheim, z”tzl. He instructed the Rabbi’s follower, “Daven on his grave!”

The following morning, when the dream was told over to the members of the community, there was a huge uproar, as the Rabbi was one of the heads of the “Yad David” Kollel in Strasbourg. Ten of the community members immediately got together and set out to the grave of Rabi David Zinzheim in Paris—there they cried out in prayer and pleaded fervently for the health of their Rabbi. And less than twenty-four hours after the tefilla, the miracle occurred: The Rabbi opened his eyes and, to everyone’s joy, began his recovery from the illness. 

Rabi David Zinzheim z”tzl—who was praised for his phenomenal knowledge of all the Rishonim and Achronim by the Chasam Sofer in his eulogy for him– was appointed towards the end of his life by the ruler of France at the time, Napoleon Bonaparte, to serve as the head of the ‘Sanhedrin’ that he initiated and founded. The greatness and wisdom of ‘Rabeinu’ was well known, and it was not for naught that he was chosen by the French Emperor to head the honored Jewish body of authority: the Sanhedrin.  And indeed, ‘Rabeinu’ ruled strongly, displaying his tremendous genius and his extraordinary power as a posek, all as he stood unwaveringly in support of the people of his nation against those who wished to wrong them.  Feeling obligated by the power and impact of his position, he moved to Paris, where he was appointed Chief Rabbi, thereby in essence, Rabbi of all French Jewry.

Years earlier, he completed his monumental work, “Yad David”—his chiddushim on all of Shas, which has been published by ‘Machon Yerushalayim’ as a thirteen-volume luxury edition. Despite his many troubles and declining health during his leadership years, he invested all of his energy, knowledge and strength of memory in his ambitious and unique project: the great work that consists of over five hundred rules,  arachim and chidushim from all areas of Torah and Shas, in the order of the aleph beis. He suffered both from troubling issues and from the lack of sifrei kodesh, therefore calling his work,”Minchas Ani”, Offering of the Poor, commenting, “Because I composed it impoverished of Torah.”

This great work has also appeared recently through ‘Machon Yerushalayim‘ as a large, impressive, three- volume set with an introduction that comprehensively depicts the history of the writer and an overview describing the amazing historical period in which he acted on behalf of French Jewry. 

Today, during the days of the Torah Book Month, held by Machon Yerushalayim, you can find this work in book stores, alongside the hundreds of the well-known sefarim of the famed Machon. Older sefarim and newer ones, series that have become basic essentials in all Torah libraries throughout the world, such as the Shulchan Aruch Hashalem Friedman Edition, Tshuvos Harishonim, Otzar Mepharshei Hatorah Avraham Schonberger Edition, Minchas Chinush, Noda BeYehuda, The Responsa of the Maharam of Rottenbrg, Or Zarua, Shaar Hamelech, Shoel Umeishiv and many other sefarim are to be found in almost every Beis Medrash. 

Having opened with the story about the amazing miracle that saved the Rabbi from Corona, we are compelled to mention the sefer, ‘Neemnu Meod—Orech Yamim’ that was published during the pandemic, containing hundreds of stories about the conduct of Gedolei Yisroel during periods of illness and epidemics throughout the generations. The sefer is part of the amazing series, appearing after the publication of the seven first sections about the Moadim.

Today, this tremendous abundance can be readily found, as mentioned, in all book stores at special sale prices, making it simple to bring the splendor of the written word to every home. 

For purchasing and more information, please contact Machon Yerushalayim at 718-977-5315 or   

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