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Teaneck, NJ - Rabbi’s Kidney Donation Inspires Community

Published on: August 20, 2009 12:24 PM
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Rabbi Ephraim Simon told his nine children that his kidney donation would be their gift to a critically ill man.Teaneck, NJ - When the opportunity arose for Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Ephraim Simon to potentially risk his life in the preservation of another’s, he paused. He wanted to give one of his kidneys to a suffering man; the problem was that he had to think about how he would communicate that decision to his nine children.

So in July, Simon, co-director of Friends of Lubavitch of Bergen County in Teaneck, N.J., gathered his family around him.

“As emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,” he told them, referring to Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, “we dedicate our lives to helping other people.”
He went on to describe the terminally-ill man he had met earlier, a father of a large family just like theirs.

“By tatte giving him a new kidney, he will live, G-d willing. This is our gift to him and you are all a part of it.”

Waiting for News
Simon’s journey from community leader to organ donor – the operation took place exactly one week ago – began last year when the 41-year-old rabbi opened a mass e-mail from a woman trying to arrange a kidney donation for a potential recipient. A 12-year-old Jewish girl with the same blood type as Simon’s was succumbing to a terrible disease, and desperately needed a new kidney. The rabbi decided to respond.

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“I have a 12-year-old daughter, too,” explains Simon from his home, where he’s in the midst of a two-week recovery period. Having never considered donating an organ in the past, “I was moved to consider testing for her.”

“Let’s see what it entails, and then make a decision,” came the reply from his wife, Nechamy Simon, when he brought it up.

After a few days of intense research, and a careful risk-benefit analysis together, the Simons reached out to the sender of the e-mail, a Jewish woman by the name of Chaya Lipschutz, offering one of the rabbi’s kidneys if he matched as a candidate.

“I cannot let a young girl die, and not do anything,” Simon told Lipschutz.

But the woman informed him that “a donor has already been found.”

Many people would have understandably felt relief at the realization that they wouldn’t be called upon to undergo major surgery. Simon, however, saw things differently.

“I felt like I didn’t act fast enough,” he recalls. “I knew right then and there that if somebody else was in need, I was going to be the one to save their life.”
Rabbi Ephraim Simon prays in the hospital.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, more than 80,000 people nationwide are waiting for a healthy kidney. But last year, more than 4,500 lost their fight for life while waiting.

Simon told Lipschutz, a former kidney donor herself, to keep his name on file and to contact him if another person was in need.

Two months later, the woman called back with news that a 35-year-old mother of two needed a kidney. Simon immediately agreed to undergo tests at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., where the woman was being treated. He wasn’t a match.

Then in February, Lipschutz called yet again to ask Simon if he would give his kidney to a single Israeli man in his 30s.

“It wasn’t for a young girl, or for a mother of two,” says Simon, “but one cannot weigh one life over another.”

The rabbi underwent his third series of tests at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. In the weeks that followed, Lipschutz informed him that should he not be a match for the Israeli man, another person on her list was in dire need of a kidney.

As it turned out, Simon was not a match, but he immediately went to another hospital to undergo tests for the other man, a Satmar Chasid from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and a father of 10.

A Meeting of Two Souls
At the kidney clinic of Cornell University, as the rabbi was on his way to have his blood tested, the critically ill man came down the hallway, heading in the opposite direction.

“Excuse me,” said the man, who had heard that a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary had volunteered to donate his kidney. “Are you the one testing for me?”

The two chatted briefly. The man showed Simon pictures of his family and told him a little about the genetic disease that had killed several of his relatives and was destroying his kidneys. Simon assured him that if he were a match, he would go through with the procedure.

A few hours before Passover, both men received the news they had been waiting for. Simon was busy preparing for the communal Seder at his Chabad House when the hospital called.

“Rabbi,” a voice on the other line began, “you are a match.”

Although he and his wife kept it between themselves, their Seder for more than 100 people took on new meaning for them both.

Immediately following the holiday, Simon called the transplant coordinator at the hospital to set up a series of examinations to assess his fitness physically, emotionally, and mentally as an organ donor.

On May 18, he received the go-ahead. In consultation with the recipient, Simon opted to schedule the surgery immediately following the conclusion of his Camp Gan Israel preschool summer camp.

At Shabbat services that week, he broke the news to his congregation. Seeing his community members as his own family, he wanted to explain to them why he was taking the risk.

Every single person is important, he told them. If an individual is lacking, it is everyone’s job to help him or her. So “in a few weeks, a critically ill Jew in need of a healthy kidney in order to survive will receive one of mine.”

Tears welled up in some of the worshippers’ eyes. One man rushed to the front of the synagogue to embrace his rabbi.

One woman says that because of the rabbi’s sacrifice, she doesn’t feel uneasy anymore when surprise Shabbat guests show up. She now happily prepares extra food.

“I initially had a mother’s natural reaction,” reveals Judy Simon, 61, who at first was very concerned about her son’s long-term health. ”But after doing research, I realized that there is no reason to be.”

After a “heart-warming” meeting with the recipient’s family at the hospital during the procedure, the mother says that it’s “incredible to have a child do this altruistic thing. I feel so honored and blessed to be part of it and to say he is my son!”

Simon went to Cornell University Medical Center the day of the surgery carrying letters and pictures from his nine children. When the anesthesia wore off and he awoke in the recovery room, his wife read the letters to him.

In another room, the recipient was doing so well, that a doctor remarked that if he didn’t know better, he “would have said this kidney came from a brother.”

“I told my children that G-d could have easily made me ill, and I would have been the recipient,” he says. “Thank G-d, I was blessed with a healthy family. What better way to thank Him than to use my own health to help somebody else?”

Simon’s eldest daughter, 14-year-old Chaya, says her father’s deed reminds her of a parable she once learned.

“Saving one life is like saving a starfish,” she says. “Even though you cannot save every single starfish, each one that you pick up from the sand and throw back into the sea is a life saved.”

Looking back at the ordeal, Simon – who is quick to emphasize that his wife had as much a hand in donating “their” kidney as he did – hopes that more people will step up and give the gift of life.

“My sacrifice is just a few days of discomfort,” he says. “The reward of saving a man’s life, giving a father his life back, giving a family their father and husband back, outweighs all the risks.

“Not everyone can donate a kidney,” continues the rabbi. “But everyone can reach out to help another person.”

For more information about kidney donation in the Jewish community, please visit Chaya Lipschutz’s Web site, kidneymitzvah.com.



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Read Comments (45)  —  Post Yours »

2

 Aug 20, 2009 at 11:50 AM Anonymous Says:

What a wonderful story to start the month of Elul. May Rabbi Simon be blessed by H'KB with a healthy life and healthy children and wonderful shidduchim for his children ad Mea Essreim. Rabbi Simon you are a source of inspiration to all Yidden and I am sure that if we all emulate you Ahavas Yisroel then Moshiach would already be here. I am sure that the Rebbe Z'Tl is proud of you as we all are.

3

 Aug 20, 2009 at 11:46 AM Anonymous Says:

wow! What a Kiddush Hashem and inspiration!

4

 Aug 20, 2009 at 11:46 AM Anonymous Says:

wow. what an inspiration to a kehilla. ashrecha v'ashrei chelkechu. may the Rav be zoche to arichas yamim v'shanim and may this merit make us worthy of being mekabel p'nei moshiach b'meheiroh b'yomeinu AMEN.

5

 Aug 20, 2009 at 11:43 AM Bubby! Says:

What an inspitring story! And coming right on Rosh Chodesh Elul, it really sets the tone. Thanks VIN for giving us some good news. A total kiddush H-shem; but then, Chabad has always cared only about Kiddush H-shem, this is just one more way.


I hope that this will inspire many others to do a good deed for another.

6

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:35 PM Chaim B. Says:

We always hear the bad stories,(Dwek etc..) Here we hear the other side of the coin .

Mi ceamcho yisroel!

Kol Hakavod Lubavitch!

7

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:30 PM Anonymous Says:

Thanks Rabbi Simon for inspiring us every day in Teaneck. You are what shluchim are really about. Maybe this will end the Chabad and Satmar conflict for good.

8

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:29 PM Anonymous Says:

if you ever wondered what the phrase ואהבת לריעך כמוךmeant this is the answer.

9

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Rabbi Simon and his wife are wonderful people-saiver panim yafot doesn't even begin to describe what they are like. Their children truly exemplify who their parents are. We can all learn from them.

10

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM PMO Says:

I don't even know what to say (for a change). I am always awed by the bravery that leads one person to risk himself or herself to help another person. Not for profit, not for fame... just because it needed to be done. B"H we have such brave and strong people walking among us.

# 8 said it best. "if you ever wondered what the phrase ואהבת לריעך כמוךmeant this is the answer."

11

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:18 PM yid Says:

Kol hakavod. May HKB"H fill all your wishes in ruchniyus and gashmiyus. refuah shleima to both you and the recipient.

12

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:08 PM Robert Says:

finally a story that inspires us all and shames me personally.
he is a true role model.
after all the bad news we need more such stories

13

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:08 PM highly inspired Says:

Der zechus zol aim eibig byshtein. how gevaldig a zechus.

14

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:06 PM wow Says:

So inspiring. I don't think I will ever be able to be so strong like him. Should hashem help all yiddishe kinder and there should be no need for a transplant of any kind

15

 Aug 20, 2009 at 01:19 PM Your cousins in South Africa Says:

Simons, we are so proud of everything you are doing.
You give the Rebbe much nachas!

16

 Aug 20, 2009 at 01:19 PM true Says:

It takes some great strong will to do such a thing , Not many people can or will even think of doing such big thing ever., It is a Spacial "deed and mitzvah wow to try even after you have made up your mined to do this and not match and then again and again not to give up. kol hakavod and a Refuah shalimah to all who need one,
In this time of the year. let us all learn form such people who act unselfish and give from themself. we can applay it to many things in life and try to be better .
may we all have a git gazunta yur. and may the Rebbi and his family know only good!

17

 Aug 20, 2009 at 01:14 PM green Says:

what an inspirational story - it brought tears to my eyes. He and his family should have many years of health and nachas.

18

 Aug 20, 2009 at 01:35 PM Kogan Says:

It takes a Man to do an act of ultimate kindness like this. What symbolism! Chabadnik risking his life to save a life of another Jew, no matter who he is. !2 years old girl, mother of two, 30 years old single Irsraeli and ultimately saving a life of a Satmar chosid.

Rabbi Simon is a Real Shliach of the Rebbe! Ultimate Ahavas Yisroel!

What a beautiful and inspiring story on Rosh Chodesh Elul!

19

 Aug 20, 2009 at 01:39 PM Kogan Says:

Can anyone post some info on how to make a donation to rabbi Simon's Moisad in honor of his true Ahavas Yisroel, so that people can express their appreciation and awe with support for his holly activities.

20

 Aug 20, 2009 at 01:02 PM i cried Says:

i cried when i read this story and thank you vin for posting. it is encouraging to read (after the last 2 scandelous kidney stories) that there still remains a good spirit amongst people, a truly good spirit.
May Rabbi Simon be rewarded with long life filled with blessing upon blessing from his family and his kehilla.
I am humbled by this story.

21

 Aug 20, 2009 at 12:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Amazing zchus! May both he and the recipient live happy long and healthy lives!

22

 Aug 20, 2009 at 11:35 AM Anonymous Says:

wow
A tremendous lesson- and more than likely a tremendous individual.
I would think if one could be Koneh olam habo in a minute these days, r' simon and his family are there!
I literally am crying, seeing this man's mesiras nefesh and ahavas yisroel. I wish I could be more like him.

23

 Aug 20, 2009 at 03:37 PM Anonymous Says:

....and who said that Chabad and Satmar didn't "care for each other"...?
Nonsense!
What a united family we truly are!

24

 Aug 20, 2009 at 03:51 PM Chaya Lipschutz, kidney matchmaker Says:

When Rabbi Simon was a back-up for someone on my list of people in need of a kidney, I was posting for other people in the meantime who were in need of a kidney. Rabbi Simon would say to me, "what about me?" He wanted to save the world!

Despite having a large and young family, kain aiyin hora, he had great Bitochon and Emunah in Hashem. I have had such a hard time finding kidney donors for people, but he certainly was one of the easiest donors of the kidney matches I made so far.

I wish others would follow - because in the meantime, people are dying every day waiting for a kidney. People on my list have died as well. Not enough people are coming forward to donate. I have such a hard time getting people to do this mitzvah. Meanwhile, when you speak to other kidney donors like myself - we wish we can do more and some of us have. All of us are doing great, Boruch Hashem, no one has regrets, and some of us wish we can do it again!



25

 Aug 20, 2009 at 03:57 PM klall yisroel Says:

Reply to #23  
Anonymous Says:

....and who said that Chabad and Satmar didn't "care for each other"...?
Nonsense!
What a united family we truly are!

you are surely 100% right . The rebba tz"l gave tzedoka and bikur cholim to every yid. Till todays day if you are in the hospital and need of food Satmar will never ever ask which chassidus you are or who your family is. Your hospitalized they deliver. Klall yisroel is great keep going and I am sure the more we search and see good the more we will discover. It is all over the place lets hope the media will learn to search for the good and it will sell advertisements and bloggers as well as papers. A git gebentched and healthy year to everyone in klall yisroel

26

 Aug 20, 2009 at 02:49 PM mende'l Says:

My question to u R' shimon is what did u do to bring u in such a level in ahavas yisroel. I can only conclude this is the result of what u did and learned and studied in the past..(And this is what u should tell us )
I guess this is the meaning one good deed brings to do another good deed..

So ppl u can not change the whole world but u can one piece at a time and it will change the world. And in this case it will change 10 worlds a father of 10..
Let this be a zchus for u and klol yisroel

But the gemura says mochshuva tova mtsorfa lemosa. U get credit for saveing more then one. So here u c the end result saveing a man and 10 children..

27

 Aug 20, 2009 at 07:09 PM A Recipient Says:

I received a kidney from my chavrusah of 30 years over two years ago. Living kidney donors are malochim. HKB"H should look down on His children with rachmonus in these difficult times in the zechus of the rachmonus they show for each other.

28

 Aug 20, 2009 at 07:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
Chaya Lipschutz, kidney matchmaker Says:

When Rabbi Simon was a back-up for someone on my list of people in need of a kidney, I was posting for other people in the meantime who were in need of a kidney. Rabbi Simon would say to me, "what about me?" He wanted to save the world!

Despite having a large and young family, kain aiyin hora, he had great Bitochon and Emunah in Hashem. I have had such a hard time finding kidney donors for people, but he certainly was one of the easiest donors of the kidney matches I made so far.

I wish others would follow - because in the meantime, people are dying every day waiting for a kidney. People on my list have died as well. Not enough people are coming forward to donate. I have such a hard time getting people to do this mitzvah. Meanwhile, when you speak to other kidney donors like myself - we wish we can do more and some of us have. All of us are doing great, Boruch Hashem, no one has regrets, and some of us wish we can do it again!



finally, not one negative comment. good start for Chodesh Elull.....

29

 Aug 20, 2009 at 07:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #24  
Chaya Lipschutz, kidney matchmaker Says:

When Rabbi Simon was a back-up for someone on my list of people in need of a kidney, I was posting for other people in the meantime who were in need of a kidney. Rabbi Simon would say to me, "what about me?" He wanted to save the world!

Despite having a large and young family, kain aiyin hora, he had great Bitochon and Emunah in Hashem. I have had such a hard time finding kidney donors for people, but he certainly was one of the easiest donors of the kidney matches I made so far.

I wish others would follow - because in the meantime, people are dying every day waiting for a kidney. People on my list have died as well. Not enough people are coming forward to donate. I have such a hard time getting people to do this mitzvah. Meanwhile, when you speak to other kidney donors like myself - we wish we can do more and some of us have. All of us are doing great, Boruch Hashem, no one has regrets, and some of us wish we can do it again!



you have a huge portion waiting for you up in heaven. when the time will come (hope fully it should be a long time from now..) all those you helpes and even wanted to help, will come to your side... Mi K'amcha Yisrael..

I never donated any organs, but imagine the fealing walking around knowing that you have a share in someones life.. what can be a bigger chesed??

please post more info about your organazation..

30

 Aug 20, 2009 at 06:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Chaim B. Says:

We always hear the bad stories,(Dwek etc..) Here we hear the other side of the coin .

Mi ceamcho yisroel!

Kol Hakavod Lubavitch!

who is the "We"? look into "our" beautifull community, and you will be astound at the huge chesed going on.. lots of it on a low profile basis.. this is one of them (on a high profile....)

31

 Aug 20, 2009 at 06:21 PM A. Nuran Says:

Reply to #24  
Chaya Lipschutz, kidney matchmaker Says:

When Rabbi Simon was a back-up for someone on my list of people in need of a kidney, I was posting for other people in the meantime who were in need of a kidney. Rabbi Simon would say to me, "what about me?" He wanted to save the world!

Despite having a large and young family, kain aiyin hora, he had great Bitochon and Emunah in Hashem. I have had such a hard time finding kidney donors for people, but he certainly was one of the easiest donors of the kidney matches I made so far.

I wish others would follow - because in the meantime, people are dying every day waiting for a kidney. People on my list have died as well. Not enough people are coming forward to donate. I have such a hard time getting people to do this mitzvah. Meanwhile, when you speak to other kidney donors like myself - we wish we can do more and some of us have. All of us are doing great, Boruch Hashem, no one has regrets, and some of us wish we can do it again!



Could you post contact information for your organization?
I have an uncommon blood type and two healthy kidneys.

32

 Aug 20, 2009 at 06:20 PM A. Nuran Says:

His courage and compassion are a lesson to us all.
Bless the man for what he did and for reminding us what a Jewish heart is supposed to be. May both of them live to 120.

33

 Aug 20, 2009 at 07:31 PM Anonymous Says:

If Hashem was waiting for something to redeem His people, this should be it. Hashem, please look at the Ahavas Yisroel and Mesiras Nefesh of your kinderlach and leiz unz shoin ois!

34

 Aug 20, 2009 at 09:53 PM Halacha Man Says:

Did he ask da'as Torah before placing himself in a sakana? May one place himself in pikuach nefesh on a sofek of saving another from pikuach nefesh??? It is a real shaylah! We are not owners of our bodies to decide what to do with our organs - we need permission al pi Torah.

By extention, I cannot give up a small part of my ruchniyus to "save" another person from grave failure of ruchniyus, as discussed in "ridiyas hapas" on shabbos - "do we allow one person to remove the dough from the oven (an issur d'rabbonon) before it bakes, to save his friend from an issur d'oryasa (of baking on shabbos)?".

Based on this, it is a real shayla if one can go out to far off places to do kiruv at the expense of his own and his family's ruchnuyus. Places that don't have a mikvah, chinuch or kosher food; Places that there isn't a mikom Torah, doesn't have a daily minyan or even a daf yomi shiyur....One is giving up ruchniyus to save another's ruchniyus - a shayala must be asked if it is that al pi Torah!!

35

 Aug 20, 2009 at 11:01 PM chief doofis Says:

Reply to #34  
Halacha Man Says:

Did he ask da'as Torah before placing himself in a sakana? May one place himself in pikuach nefesh on a sofek of saving another from pikuach nefesh??? It is a real shaylah! We are not owners of our bodies to decide what to do with our organs - we need permission al pi Torah.

By extention, I cannot give up a small part of my ruchniyus to "save" another person from grave failure of ruchniyus, as discussed in "ridiyas hapas" on shabbos - "do we allow one person to remove the dough from the oven (an issur d'rabbonon) before it bakes, to save his friend from an issur d'oryasa (of baking on shabbos)?".

Based on this, it is a real shayla if one can go out to far off places to do kiruv at the expense of his own and his family's ruchnuyus. Places that don't have a mikvah, chinuch or kosher food; Places that there isn't a mikom Torah, doesn't have a daily minyan or even a daf yomi shiyur....One is giving up ruchniyus to save another's ruchniyus - a shayala must be asked if it is that al pi Torah!!

Although I am someone who often disagrees with Chabad's philosophy and practices, sometimes they do accomplish great things. This Rabbi, accomplished a great thing. Nothing in the world is greater than saving a life.

Insofar as asking "Das Torah", the man is a Rabbi. By virtue of his legitimate Orthodox S'micha, his decision, is Das Torah. While your own posek may differ, and has every right to differ, and you have every right to follow your own Posek, do not claim that one legitimate Rabbi is Das Torah, and another one is not. Regarding the second issue, of relocating to a location where there is no Torah, chinuch, etc. I personally turned down a generous offer in the late 1970's, because I didn't want my kids growing up in a certain atmosphere. Was I right? Perhaps, for myself, I was. That doesn't make the fellow who did take the position wrong. Eilu v'eilu..

36

 Aug 20, 2009 at 10:35 PM Ma Says:

To halacha,
I sure hope you dont need ever a kidney donation...

BTW the shluchim go out there and build mikveh, chinuch, and give shiurim minyonim etc.. just look up chabad centers at chabad.org, also if you study history, until 100 years ago many yidden did not have the luxury of daily minyonim, local mikvehs and local chinuch...

but maybe if you had a child in a faraway place and a shaliach was there providing some yidishkeit for your child you would not be asking this, but if its someone elses child or Hashems child that is not of interest to you.

You may not agree with everything they do, but I am sure you dont agree with everything you do and you still love yourself, so love every jew just the way they are..

Anyways you can stay where you are with your local kosher pizza and enjoy and dont worry about people needing kidneys or people needing some yiddishkeit.

Shano tovoh umesukah!

37

 Aug 21, 2009 at 12:53 AM Anonymous Says:

Wow! What can I say? Rabbi, you don't know how much you inspired me. After all the negetive stories of late my emunah was weakened. You have shown me that there is altruition within Yiddishkeit. Just focus on the positive within the frum Community.

Yasher Koach, and may Hashem bless you for the amzing thing you did!

38

 Aug 21, 2009 at 12:12 AM R' Ephraim... Says:

I don't know you and you don't know me but I must tell you that you have greatly inspired me with your selfless act of donating your kidney to a stranger. Its refreshing to see Yidden acting how HKBH wants us to. May we continue to hear good tidings such as these and may your merit protect your family and bring all sorts of Brachos Vekol Tuv to you and yours ad meah veesrim. As a side note we should all learn from your mehalech hachinuch. Your children are lucky to have such a wise and holy father such as yourself to guide them in these troublesome times. You make us all proud to be Yidden! Tizku Lemitzvos!!!

39

 Aug 20, 2009 at 11:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Response to #34
I donated a kidney and asked every single gadol, if this is permitted. All gedolim today except one permit to give a kidney and are very very supportive of donating a kidney. I have at home many letters of gedolim stating that its permitted and what a great zchus it is to part of such a great mitzvah.
For those that wonder, I donated a kidney a long time ago to stranger, and I'm feeling 100% fine. There is no long term changes in the life of the donor.

40

 Aug 21, 2009 at 08:22 AM matzahlocal101 Says:

Reply to #34  
Halacha Man Says:

Did he ask da'as Torah before placing himself in a sakana? May one place himself in pikuach nefesh on a sofek of saving another from pikuach nefesh??? It is a real shaylah! We are not owners of our bodies to decide what to do with our organs - we need permission al pi Torah.

By extention, I cannot give up a small part of my ruchniyus to "save" another person from grave failure of ruchniyus, as discussed in "ridiyas hapas" on shabbos - "do we allow one person to remove the dough from the oven (an issur d'rabbonon) before it bakes, to save his friend from an issur d'oryasa (of baking on shabbos)?".

Based on this, it is a real shayla if one can go out to far off places to do kiruv at the expense of his own and his family's ruchnuyus. Places that don't have a mikvah, chinuch or kosher food; Places that there isn't a mikom Torah, doesn't have a daily minyan or even a daf yomi shiyur....One is giving up ruchniyus to save another's ruchniyus - a shayala must be asked if it is that al pi Torah!!

Mr lo lihalacha vilo lima'aseh,
As I read down the comments, I thought to myself, "Is it possible the winds of change blowing? Could it be possible that there is a story about Chabad without a single negative comment?And then I reached comment #34. Your assumption that a Chabadnik and in particular a Rov in a fairly large orthodox Jewish either did not research the issue or ask a shailo makes you look a like Schmuck. My experience with most people screaming "DAAS TORAH" are they clean shaving litvakers that don't mind being oiver a safik issur di'oireisa every day of lo sashchiso pias zikanecha with an electric razor and as time goes by and the technology improves, that safek because less of a safek and more of a vadai. please don't cite 40 year old "heterim" that are no longer applicable. Let me ask you, did you or any of your clean shaven friends "ask a shaila" if it's permissible to be oiver FIVE safik issur di'oireisas every day, of shaving with an electric Razor for the sole purpose of looking like a goy and in the process being "mevatel the tzivu Hashem" (the Chofetz Chaim's words in Tiferes ha'odom, not mine.)of lo sashchisu pias zikanecha? Your pompous self rightousness to infer that Rebbe who was sending out shluchim for 50 years was not Daas Torah and that some litvishe gadol must be asked is beyond disgusting. Tell me, did the gadol that you would ask put out over 100 seferim bichol chelkai hatorah? Yet you, who would not leave the comforts of an intown community to go somewhere that doesn't have a cholov yisroel ice cream palor, two pizza shops, a non-bor al gabay mikvah (only for your wife of course, except for erev yom kippur) a fleichig restaurant, three shuls for when you wake up late, or very late, And more than 50 years after the fact you ask "Is it permissible to go to Yupitzvile to save a yiddishe neshama? As if it never occurred to the Rebbe, or that he wasn't qualified to make that decision. Of course I'm not daas Torah, but libi omar li that you need to ask Daas Torah if you are required to go to the Rebbe's tzion with a minyan and ask mechila for implying that the Rebbe was not Daas Torah.

41

 Aug 21, 2009 at 10:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #34  
Halacha Man Says:

Did he ask da'as Torah before placing himself in a sakana? May one place himself in pikuach nefesh on a sofek of saving another from pikuach nefesh??? It is a real shaylah! We are not owners of our bodies to decide what to do with our organs - we need permission al pi Torah.

By extention, I cannot give up a small part of my ruchniyus to "save" another person from grave failure of ruchniyus, as discussed in "ridiyas hapas" on shabbos - "do we allow one person to remove the dough from the oven (an issur d'rabbonon) before it bakes, to save his friend from an issur d'oryasa (of baking on shabbos)?".

Based on this, it is a real shayla if one can go out to far off places to do kiruv at the expense of his own and his family's ruchnuyus. Places that don't have a mikvah, chinuch or kosher food; Places that there isn't a mikom Torah, doesn't have a daily minyan or even a daf yomi shiyur....One is giving up ruchniyus to save another's ruchniyus - a shayala must be asked if it is that al pi Torah!!

You remind me of a story I once heard about a litvak who was held captive by some thugs who were about to kill him. He started to announce a bracha that is said before one is about to die. Just after he finished the bracha, they changed their minds and wanted to set him free. In his disbelief he shouted " Bracha Levatalah" You must go ahead and kill me......... This is obviously a joke but you get the picture.

42

 Aug 21, 2009 at 01:20 PM Halacha Man Says:

Reply to #40  
matzahlocal101 Says:

Mr lo lihalacha vilo lima'aseh,
As I read down the comments, I thought to myself, "Is it possible the winds of change blowing? Could it be possible that there is a story about Chabad without a single negative comment?And then I reached comment #34. Your assumption that a Chabadnik and in particular a Rov in a fairly large orthodox Jewish either did not research the issue or ask a shailo makes you look a like Schmuck. My experience with most people screaming "DAAS TORAH" are they clean shaving litvakers that don't mind being oiver a safik issur di'oireisa every day of lo sashchiso pias zikanecha with an electric razor and as time goes by and the technology improves, that safek because less of a safek and more of a vadai. please don't cite 40 year old "heterim" that are no longer applicable. Let me ask you, did you or any of your clean shaven friends "ask a shaila" if it's permissible to be oiver FIVE safik issur di'oireisas every day, of shaving with an electric Razor for the sole purpose of looking like a goy and in the process being "mevatel the tzivu Hashem" (the Chofetz Chaim's words in Tiferes ha'odom, not mine.)of lo sashchisu pias zikanecha? Your pompous self rightousness to infer that Rebbe who was sending out shluchim for 50 years was not Daas Torah and that some litvishe gadol must be asked is beyond disgusting. Tell me, did the gadol that you would ask put out over 100 seferim bichol chelkai hatorah? Yet you, who would not leave the comforts of an intown community to go somewhere that doesn't have a cholov yisroel ice cream palor, two pizza shops, a non-bor al gabay mikvah (only for your wife of course, except for erev yom kippur) a fleichig restaurant, three shuls for when you wake up late, or very late, And more than 50 years after the fact you ask "Is it permissible to go to Yupitzvile to save a yiddishe neshama? As if it never occurred to the Rebbe, or that he wasn't qualified to make that decision. Of course I'm not daas Torah, but libi omar li that you need to ask Daas Torah if you are required to go to the Rebbe's tzion with a minyan and ask mechila for implying that the Rebbe was not Daas Torah.

In no way do I imply that doing so is against halacha. My point is simply that every frum yid needs to ask a shayla and get permission from da'as Torah before embarking on an "unbeaten path", whether to donate an organ or to place himself in spiritual danger.

You raise the issue of shaving...that is a well traveled road, and one can assume the masses of Torah yidden are following halacha. Of course, one can and maybe should ask to make certain that the activity is mutter for him (and the type of shaver that may or mustn't be used).

In no way do I imply that the unquestionable Godol Hador, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l is not a da'as Torah or that someone must get a "second opinion" - yehuda v'od l'kra. However, each individual needs to ask his Rov / Godol for an honest assessment if he is on a madrega to go out to "yehupitz" to do kiruv.

Not everyone can withstand all the nisyonos of being in a place that lacks Torah and yiras shomayim. Do you think anyond could survive b'ruchniyus in ancient Sodom?

I wouldn't be able to go on a public beach to do kiruv without being nichshal with my eyes or machshava. Those who can, are indeed on a very high madrayga. I don't know how my family would turn out b'ruchniyus if we lived in a place forsaken of Torah.

In early America (1700 - 1800's), many very frum Yidden immigrated and lived in "yehupitz". Some were rabbonim, cantors, shochtim etc. - but very little remained from their children. That shows that someone needs to be on a very high madrega to withstand the influence of his surroundings. Maybe if they asked a shayla before leaving to America, their off-spring would still exist as shomrei Torah.

So please, don't take issue or c'v become insulted by what I commented, to ask a shayla - that is the approach any frum yid should take.

May we have a shana tova u'mesulah, and I too pray and hope each day for the geulah and the coming of Moshiach "now" (no matter who he may be - from the living or the tzadikim of yesteryear).

43

 Aug 21, 2009 at 01:54 PM Halacha Man Says:

Reply to #40  
matzahlocal101 Says:

Mr lo lihalacha vilo lima'aseh,
As I read down the comments, I thought to myself, "Is it possible the winds of change blowing? Could it be possible that there is a story about Chabad without a single negative comment?And then I reached comment #34. Your assumption that a Chabadnik and in particular a Rov in a fairly large orthodox Jewish either did not research the issue or ask a shailo makes you look a like Schmuck. My experience with most people screaming "DAAS TORAH" are they clean shaving litvakers that don't mind being oiver a safik issur di'oireisa every day of lo sashchiso pias zikanecha with an electric razor and as time goes by and the technology improves, that safek because less of a safek and more of a vadai. please don't cite 40 year old "heterim" that are no longer applicable. Let me ask you, did you or any of your clean shaven friends "ask a shaila" if it's permissible to be oiver FIVE safik issur di'oireisas every day, of shaving with an electric Razor for the sole purpose of looking like a goy and in the process being "mevatel the tzivu Hashem" (the Chofetz Chaim's words in Tiferes ha'odom, not mine.)of lo sashchisu pias zikanecha? Your pompous self rightousness to infer that Rebbe who was sending out shluchim for 50 years was not Daas Torah and that some litvishe gadol must be asked is beyond disgusting. Tell me, did the gadol that you would ask put out over 100 seferim bichol chelkai hatorah? Yet you, who would not leave the comforts of an intown community to go somewhere that doesn't have a cholov yisroel ice cream palor, two pizza shops, a non-bor al gabay mikvah (only for your wife of course, except for erev yom kippur) a fleichig restaurant, three shuls for when you wake up late, or very late, And more than 50 years after the fact you ask "Is it permissible to go to Yupitzvile to save a yiddishe neshama? As if it never occurred to the Rebbe, or that he wasn't qualified to make that decision. Of course I'm not daas Torah, but libi omar li that you need to ask Daas Torah if you are required to go to the Rebbe's tzion with a minyan and ask mechila for implying that the Rebbe was not Daas Torah.

In no way do I imply that doing so is against halacha. My point is simply that every frum yid needs to ask a shayla and get permission from da'as Torah before embarking on an "unbeaten path", whether to donate an organ or to place himself in spiritual danger.

You raise the issue of shaving...that is a well traveled road, and one can assume the masses of Torah yidden are following halacha. Of course, one can and maybe should ask to make certain that the activity is mutter for him (and the type of shaver that may or mustn't be used).

In no way do I imply that the unquestionable Godol Hador, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l is not a da'as Torah or that someone must get a "second opinion" - yehuda v'od l'kra. However, each individual needs to ask his Rov / Godol for an honest assessment if he is on a madrega to go out to "yehupitz" to do kiruv.

Not everyone can withstand all the nisyonos of being in a place that lacks Torah and yiras shomayim. Do you think anyond could survive b'ruchniyus in ancient Sodom?

I wouldn't be able to go on a public beach to do kiruv without being nichshal with my eyes or machshava. Those who can, are indeed on a very high madrayga. I don't know how my family would turn out b'ruchniyus if we lived in a place forsaken of Torah.

In early America (1700 - 1800's), many very frum Yidden immigrated and lived in "yehupitz". Some were rabbonim, cantors, shochtim etc. - but very little remained from their children. That shows that someone needs to be on a very high madrega to withstand the influence of his surroundings. Maybe if they asked a shayla before leaving to America, their off-spring would still exist as shomrei Torah.

So please, don't take issue or c'v become insulted by what I commented, to ask a shayla - that is the approach any frum yid should take.

May we have a shana tova u'mesulah, and I too pray and hope each day for the geulah and the coming of Moshiach "now" (no matter who he may be - from the living or the tzadikim of yesteryear).

44

 Aug 21, 2009 at 03:39 PM Toronto Litvak Says:

To #34:

I will respond to your comment with a story.

I once commented to a Lubavitcher "shaliach" that I admire his mesiras nefesh for living in a place which is isolated from frum yidden. I told him he has true miseras nefesh. He reponded, "No, it isn't MESIRAS nefesh. It is my NEFESH!"

I reflected long and hard on his comment and realized it wasn't just a play on words. This "shaliach" lives for others, and by living for others he connects himself with his Rebbe ztz"l and get nefesh.

I am no chosid yet remain envious and with learned admiration of someone who knows what his nefesh is!

45

 Aug 22, 2009 at 01:34 AM Virginia Postrel Says:

I am a living kidney donor and have become an email friend of Chaya's. She deserves enormous credit for the work she does. It is really not that difficult to be a kidney donor--it requires just a few weeks of discomfort--but it is very hard to do what Chaya does, trying to find matches for people in need. She calls her work "kidney mitzvah" because it is a mitzvah to give a kidney. But her work itself is a great mitzvah. Also, I cannot praise the rabbi's family enough, and particularly the rebbitzen. Many living donors, or potential living donors, do not enjoy such great support from their families.

46

 Aug 24, 2009 at 01:35 AM proud cousin from down under Says:

Ephraim Nechomie and your beautiful children
all of you have demonstrated the ultimite in Ahavas Yisroel . The family and surely the Rebbe are taking a look and saying Reu gedilim sh'gedalti and Hakosh boruch hu he must be oh so proud of the mesiros nefesh of one Jew for the other. May you be blessed with all the Brochos which you deserve

47

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