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Saving a Life

Friday, 23 November, 2012 - 1:07 pm

Yesterday when I picked up the phone, I heard a voice on the other end "I want to tell you that you saved my life, you are a hero!" I recognized the voice very well but I had no idea what she was talking about. 

"Do you remember when I called you about chemotherapy?” she asked. I remembered vaguely.

It must have been two years ago when this young woman from our community who I have known for a while called me. She informed me with sadness that she has just been notified that she had breast cancer which has spread. I told her how sad I was to hear the news, I asked her to tell us if there is any way we can help and I assured her that we will have her in our prayers and thoughts.

As I was about to say goodbye and end the conversation, She continued “O Rabbi Kaplan, I want to ask you something too... the Doctor said that I need to go through massive chemotherapy treatment, but I don’t want to. I really don’t like the invasive medical intervention. My family and friends suggest I should, I want to know what Halacha (Jewish Law) says on the matter".

I explained that Jewish law teaches us that our life is a deposit from G–d and we need to preserve and protect it. Many lives have been saved with this treatment, and "if the doctor thinks that it may heal you – Halacha says that you must do it”. I ended the conversation with good wishes.

While I entirely forgot this conversation, She remembered. She called me yesterday, two years later, to tell me that the cancer is gone.

I was touched to the core, and realized, once again, that at times things we do with no effort, may mean for someone else their life.

Comments on: Saving a Life

Elisabeth Gelb wrote...

Dear Rabbi,
Your words of encouragement to trust the medical advice instilled a positive attitude which led the Refuah Shlaymah. This inspiring story reminds us that nothing is outside the realm of Halacha. Thank you.
Shabbat Shalom to you and yours!