A Life-Saving Sacrifice
A Life-Saving Sacrifice
as heard from Rebbetzin Esther Kanievsky, a”h
ולבני אהרן תעשה כתנת…לכבוד ולתפארת
And for the children of Aharon you shall make tunics… for glory and splendor (Shemot 28:40)
On March 21, 2009, the crowded Lev HaMifratz mall in Chaifa, a three-story mall with one hundred shops and twenty-three theaters was spared from collapsing. A white Subaru car had been parked next to a support pillar when someone noticed smoke exuding from the trunk. The Israeli police were immediately notified and came to the scene prepared for the worst. Cautiously opening the trunk of the car, they were aghast to find a large bomb weighing close to one hundred pounds. Diffusing it at once, they were able to avoid what would have been a major tragedy. Had that bomb blown up right next to the support pillars, the entire mall would have collapsed onto itself, taking along with it hundreds of lives. But a miracle happened and disaster was averted.
The summer following this incident, a woman from my community visited Israel and met with Rebbetzin Kanievsky a”h. To her astonishment, she was told by Rebbetzin Kanievsky the following story revealing the true reason the bombs didn’t go off:
There was a non-religious girl from a non-religious family living in Chaifa who was ill with excruciating stomach pains. Going from doctor to doctor, she finally was told of the tragic news she never wished to hear: she had a tremendous stomach tumor that had metastasized. It was inoperable; there was nothing the doctors could do for her. All she was told to do was go home and live out the next couple of weeks she had left.
She and her parents pleaded and cried with the doctors to do something, but they persisted in telling them that it was hopeless. Finally, after much effort, they agreed to attempt surgery. But, they reminded the girl and her family, nothing was going to positively result from the procedure. The doctors warned her that she might not even survive the surgery. And given her circumstances, an inexperienced surgeon would perform the operation. The doctors figured that she was a lost cause anyway, and it would be good practice for a new doctor.
Returning home, she began thinking to herself, “G-d, during the times the Temple stood, a person could bring an offering and draw closer to You. But today, there is no Temple, no Kohen, no sacrifices and no Altar. But I want to bring something to You as a sacrifice.” She then decided that she was going to bring an offering. Making a fire in her backyard, she took all of her immodest clothing and threw them into the fire. “This is my offering to You Hashem,” she said, “please accept it.” She burned every stitch of clothing she had. All that was left was her modest nightgown. And wearing that nightgown, she headed to the hospital the next day for surgery.
Bringing her into surgery, they opened her up and couldn’t believe what they saw. There was a giant tumor, but it had not metastasized. They were mistaken. It was very big, but it was operable and could be removed. Taking out the tumor, the tests showed that it was benign. After sewing her up, she was given a clean bill of health. And in a few days, she healthily returned back home.
She immediately called all of her friends and told them of the great miracle Hashem had done for her. She felt that it was in the merit of getting rid of her clothing and bringing her offering that she was given life. Upon hearing of her inspiring story, her non-religious friends came to her house and also decided to bring an offering. And in her backyard, they made another fire, and likewise threw all their immodest clothing into it. Now, they all needed to buy new clothing.
And so, the next day on March 21st, where did they go? To the Chaifa mall. There, where that car with nearly one hundred pounds of explosives was parked, these girls went on a search to find new clothing.
Now, why didn’t the mall blow up? We may never know for certain, but as Rebbetzin Kanievsky felt, it was in the merit of this girl and her friends.
These girls who sacrificed their clothing prevented thousands of other lives from going up to Heaven as sacrifices themselves. Such is the type of blessing living a life of holiness and modesty can bring to the world.