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Doctor in House?

Thursday, 12 May, 2022 - 3:42 am

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

I always knew that our work in spreading Judaism throughout Thailand was spiritually lifesaving. The gift of connection and inspiration that Torah and Mitzvahs provide are an elixir for the soul.

It saves lives quite literally as well.

Recently, our rabbi in Chiang Mai arrived to a routine visit to a member of his local Jewish community. Upon arrival, he found that that the person he had come to visit had collapsed into unconsciousness. He succeeded in getting him the urgently needed medical help that saved his life.

Last Shabbat I got to see how by opening Jewish centers in yet additional locations we can save more lives. Spiritually, that goes without saying. Even physically.

As I have mentioned in this column before, this year is the celebration of 120 years since the Rebbe’s birth. In marking this milestone, we have joined the worldwide effort to add 1210 new centers of Jewish life and observance around the world.

One of our regional undertakings is establishing a Chabad presence to serve the growing number of Jewish people in the island of Ko Pangan. Some of them are digital nomads, some are simply taking some time off from the frenetic pace of modern-day life while others are there ‘just because’.

Click here for the articles describing the Divine Providence we encountered on our initial visit to Ko Pangan.

Miri and Dovi, a young Chabad couple (Miri is the daughter of Eliezer and Rochi Ashkenazi) went out to visit Pangan for Purim. They led Purim activities and scouted out the island to see about taking up the position of leading the Chabad House there.

While there, they met a family with several children who had spent a few months in Ko Pangan. The wife said that her religious parents were coming from Israel to tour Thailand and would be spending a Shabbat in Bangkok. They were debating in which part of town to stay to attend Shabbat prayers and meals. Miri suggested that they come to spend Shabbat at Bet Elisheva as she is currently living there in her parents’ home. The family liked the idea and the family with her parents joined Bet Elisheva for Shabbat.

Last Shabbat, at the luncheon after prayers, one of our older community members went into a state of shock and started to slide off his chair. Those sitting next to him caught him before he fell. All of us have seen him injecting insulin at various occasions and it was clear that it was a case of diabetic shock.

Immediately his pouch was located as this is where he keeps his insulin. Before anyone could find the insulin or inject it, a woman ran over from a nearby table and said that she is a doctor. She took control of the situation and kept him stable till the ambulance came and put him on a glucose drip.

Yes, it was the woman traveling with her family who Dovi and Miri had met in Ko Pangan. She is a doctor.

As a doctor of course she knows that when in diabetic shock, it is forbidden to give more insulin. Actually, the medical term for this shock is ‘insulin shock’ and it comes from too much insulin.

I shudder to think what could have happened G-d forbid if a well meaning but non medically trained person may have instinctively administered more insulin.

Thank G-d we had a traveling doctor in house.

And Miri and Dovi were there too. To share with me the amazing Divine Providence of how the doctor came to be at our Shabbat lunch that day.

A visit to Ko Pangan. A plan put into motion by G-d, to position a doctor exactly where she would be needed.

Clearly, opening more Chabad centers in more locations saves lives. Literally, physically. And spiritually.

The timing of this message is Providential as well.  This weekend, Nechama and I are celebrating twenty-nine years since our arrival in Thailand on May 15 1993.

As we enter our thirtieth year here in service of the community, we have many powerful, positive, and inspirational moments to look back on.

However, the real achievements are still in front of us. As there is so much still to be done.

This story is poignant reminder from Heaven, and it injects an urgency and encouragement to work with alacrity and zeal. Especially when it comes to helping and doing for others, delays must be avoided.

The following poignant story is recorded in the Talmud (Ta’anis 21a). It is concerning the Sage Nochum ish Gamzu, one of Rabbi Akiva’s teachers from whom he learned to thank G‑d for everything. “This too is for the good” was his favorite refrain even when it appeared that something very negative occurred.

Yet, despite his obsessive optimism and the positive spin he gave to virtually every negative phenomenon, Nochum Ish Gamzu never forgave himself for the following incident:

“I was once traveling on the road to the house of my father-in-law and I had with me three donkey-loads; one of food, one of drink, and one of various delicacies. A poor man came and stood before me on the road and said to me, ‘My teacher, sustain me!’ I said to him: ‘wait until I unload from the donkey.’ I did not have a chance to unload the donkey before his soul departed.”

Nochum ish Gamzu blamed his delay for the death of the poor man and accepted upon himself all forms of suffering as penance for what he considered to have been an egregious sin.

In truth, Nochum was not guilty of any crime or moral lapse. If the man had been more forceful and stated “I’m starving” instead of just “sustain me,” Nochum would certainly have acted with much more haste. Apparently the man did not look deathly ill nor did he convey urgency in his request.

Click here for more on this.

The message is clear.

Studying Torah, praying and observing mitzvahs are good for the body and good for the soul.

Facilitating others to be in touch with their inner selves is a doubly good. it is good for the doer and good for the facilitator.

Doing all the above, for yourself and for others, without procrastinating and without delay is the best and most G-dly way.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

 

 

 

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