Saved By a Kidney

By Rabbi Chaim Morgenstern

There are many stories testifying to the gadlus (greatness) of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, stories heard from the countless number of people that visited his home seeking his wisdom and instruction.

A family in which one of the sisters developed a serious medical condition had to face a kidney transplant once it became clear the dialysis was not a viable long term option. The parents decided to look for a donor for a transplant. Four of the brothers were determined to be suitable donors. The potential donors agreed they would visit Rav Kanievsky and draw straws to determine which one of them would donate a kidney. The youngest brother became too frightened of surgery and told the others that he cannot give a kidney, but agreed to accompany them to Rav Chaim. They visit took place, and when they drew lots to determine who will donate a kidney, the lot fell on the youngest brother, the same one who stated he is too scared to go through with the transplant.

Those present were certain Rav Chaim would instruct them to draw again between the brothers who were not afraid. However, Rav Chaim told the youngest brother than since the lot fell on him, he must donate the kidney to his sister. “You will not lose from this but you will have good health” Rav Chaim told him.

As the young man tried to tell Rav Chaim he is scared, he was interrupted by Rav Chaim who reiterated that he must go through with ithe transplant and that he will have good health.

The transplant procedure began in Beilinson Hospital in Tel Aviv, where the young brother was in one room and the recipient, his sister, in an adjoining operating room.

After the doctors removed the healthy kidney from the young brother they were astounded to find a growth, albeit a small malignant one that was not detectable because it was under the kidney growing towards the pancreas. The doctors told the family that they never would have detected it without the transplant surgery, and that by the time the growth would have been detectable it would have been too late.

Since the kidney was not usable, the brothers returned to draw lots again at the home of Rav Chaim to determine who will merit giving a kidney.

Once again, it is seen that listening to the words of this Gadol Hador not only saved the life of the sister, who required a kidney, but the younger brother who had no idea that trying to donate the organ would save his life.

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