The Power of Shabbat

Friday, 23 October, 2009 - 6:39 am

David Solomon was what you would call a self-made man. He lived in Manhattan and had built himself up from almost nothing with his own 'two hands'. Today was a multi-millionaire with several factories, had substantial holdings on Wall Street and knew exactly how loud money 'talks'.

Of course there was no place in his life for Judaism and no time for anything except business ... and family.

The most precious of all his possessions was his eighteen year old daughter. She was the apple of his eye. Her picture was on his desk and every wall of his office. He dreamed of the day that she would marry and he would see grandchildren. He even had a special fund saved up to buy her a new house and whatever she needed. And that day would soon be here.

He was sitting in his office when the phone rang. 'Mr. Solomon?" asked an official sounding voice on the other end of the line.


'Have you got a daughter by the name of Sarah Solomon?

Again he answered yes.

"This is a police officer speaking from County hospital. You'd better get down here fast, Mr. Solomon. Your daughter has been in a pretty severe automobile accident."

Mr. Solomon asked a few questions to make sure it wasn't a prank, slammed the phone down grabbed his keys and raced out of the office.

It was a nightmare. She was in critical condition. In a coma. Wires and instruments were attached to every part of her body. The doctors said that it was impossible to operate until her condition stabilized.

He stood there weeping. What could he do? His wife arrived and she too burst out in tears.

The next few days were almost without sleep. They waited in the hall for some news from the doctors. Perhaps she opened her eyes? Perhaps there would be some improvement?

But the only message of hope he received was his father's suggestion that he consult with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

"He's the only one that can help" his father said. "I have friends that he did big miracles for. If anyone can help you he can. Just go, get an appointment and get to see him.

David's emotions began flipping. At first he was excited; there was hope! But then he became disappointed .. in himself. What? I, Dovid Solomon, a normal, successful American businessman going to soothsayers and healers?

But maybe this was something different? After all, this was a respected Jewish Rabbi. He even heard that he was a great leader, a serious person. He was uncertain.

Then suddenly he was afraid. "I don't do any commandments. How can I go to this Rabbi? I'll be so ashamed."

But then his confidence returned. He remembered his money. "I'll give a big donation and the Rabbi will certainly hear what I have to say."

Dovid drove down to the Rebbe's headquarters in Brooklyn to arrange a 'Yechidut'; a private meeting. Usually people had to wait for even months but because of the urgency that evening he was standing before the Rebbe.

"Rebbe!" He began to cry. "My daughter had a terrible accident. She is in critical condition. Rebbe, can you save her? Here, here is a check for fifty thousand dollars! For your institutions."

The Rebbe just looked at him without seeming to notice the check and said. "If you want to save your daughter you must begin to observe Shabbat."

"Rebbe," he replied "I can't promise such a thing. I'm a very busy man and I'm not a religious Jew. Here!" he took out his checkbook put it on the Rebbe's desk and began writing, "Here. One hundred thousand dollars! Please, Rebbe, please take it, just save my daughter."

The Rebbe looked at him even more intently and said. "Mr. Solomon I am here to help you, I'm not thinking of myself. If you want her to be healthy keep the Sabbath."

"Rebbe, here!" Said Solomon as he signed his name to another check and placed it before the Rebbe. "It's an open check. Write what you want. Take what you need, just save her!!" He was really crying now. Looking deeply into the Rebbe's eyes for some hope.

"G-d is responsible for her healing." the Rebbe replied. "You must appeal to Him. I can only help with prayer but you must also do your part" . "At least keep the Sabbath. Then your daughter will be healthy and you will even see grandchildren from her."

Mr. Solomon gathered up his checks. Said he would think about it, shook the Rebbe's hand and left closing the door after him. He waited around for a while outside the door hoping that the Rebbe would call him back. But he didn't and Solomon returned to the hospital empty handed.

That night he couldn't sleep. The meeting with the Rebbe made a deep impression on him. The Rebbe's face danced before his eyes saying "I am here to help you, not to help myself. keep Shabbat". It was the first time in his life he met a man that was not interested in his own personal profit.

Meanwhile Sarah's condition deteriorated.

"Nu" He said to his wife. This Shabbat we won't drive or turn on any lights. I mean we'll be staying in the hospital anyway so we have nowhere to go. And I think I remember how to make Kiddush; we can at least begin to do what Rabbi Schneerson said."

That Sunday there was some improvement and the next Sunday she opened her eyes for the first time in a month.

Mr. Solomon became a 'Shomer Shabbos' Jew and his daughter Sarah not only became completely healed, she eventually got married and had several children. Just as the Rebbe said.

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