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.




This was written by the person himself. Original letter was written in Hebrew.

“By most people, the period after the engagement is a happy one. These are usually filled with beautiful and pleasant memories for the future. But for me, it wasn’t so simple.
We met, we matched and with G-d’s help, we got engaged! But just days after, both our parents realized that they forgot to discuss one important thing, the financial situation and arrangements! It turned out that both sides don’t have much to offer at all! As my father put it; “we even need to borrow money for the cab to the actual wedding!!”.
Now this is a real difficult situation especially for a yeshiva boy who wants to continue studying Torah even after marriage.
It started with this, but slowly slowly we had to face other upsetting facts; our wedding will be a very small one, we can’t afford a band so we would have to get one guy on the organ…and other such things. These talks between both families caused much tension between us. It wasn’t looking well at all.
Two weeks before the wedding, my two brothers decided to take me on a trip up north to ‘change scenery’. We set out in my brothers battered car.
They tried to create a nice and happy atmosphere but it wasn’t really working. At this stage of my life, the world seemed very dark and I felt extremely low.
But if that’s not enough, the car all of sudden stopped working. With no previous warning it simply coughed and died! My brother just about managed to park it on the side of the highway. Both my brothers got out of the car, opened the bonnet only remembering that they have no clue how to deal with the car.
Hard rain began to fall and we decided to hitchhike to the nearest gas station to try get someone who knows about cars to come fix our car.
It took a good half hour but we finally managed to stop a car and off we were to the gas station. We arrived and the first thing we got was a drink and some snacks to eat [of course the ones which had a suitable hechsher] and we sat there to eat. In the mean time my brother tried to find someone that can help us but to no avail. There was no one.
With no other choice we had to call the tow truck who promised to be there within half an hour.
We were ready to leave but when we came to pay we were shocked to see that we had left our wallets in the glove compartment of the car!
My brother began explaining to the Arab owner of the kiosk that he forgot his wallet in the car to which the owner angrily answered; “you know how to sit and eat but when it comes to pay, you start with the stories huh! No way!!”
With all the explanations that my brother tried to throw at him, the owner was not moving! He remained very tough with us. “You really think I’m going to let you go so easily! And 10 km’s away?! You’re not leaving even a meter from here! Call whoever you need to call and let them bring the money, but until then, you’re not leaving from here!”
“But our family live hours away from here! Do you not have any trust in us at all?!” my brother asked to which the owner replied; “Actually no I don’t! and if you would work here for just a week, neither would you!”
We looked at him with no hope, but then an idea came to his mind: “you know what, one of you stay here and the other two can go back to bring the money.”

My brothers took counsel with each other and decided that they won’t trouble me – the ‘chatan’ – to go out in the cold and rain, so therefore I will be the one to stay whilst they go to get the money.
Off they went, and there I was alone with the owner, while every so often I would meet his scrutinizing gaze.
I starting thinking about the situation that I was in: the wedding is in another two weeks and I have no money!! The future looks very dark for me and even this trip that my brothers organized for me is ruined, and if that’s not enough, I’m now sitting across a guy who looks like he’s ready to ‘eat me alive’!…
Half an hour passed and I was waiting on edge hoping for my brothers to come back already! I approached the owner and asked him if I could call my brother. Even though he sounded a big “OOOF”, he nevertheless allowed me to call them. I tried calling both their cell phones but they were both disconnected! I began to worry.
Another half hour passed. I tried to call again but nothing! A great fear began to spread inside of me. After another half hour passed I asked the owner if I could try again but this time he said no!
“I’m worried! My brothers have disappeared, let me try again!”
“I said NO!” he answered abruptly.
When I heard that, I just broke out in tears and I could not stop. It was a cry that included everything that I had gone through the last few months…all the tension, the fear for the future…I let out a loud & heartfelt prayer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu that He hear my cry and in my heart I committed to donate an amount of money to charity.
Suddenly, a man walked in to the store, looked to be in his mid 40’s with his daughter who seemed to be in her 20’s.
“Why is he crying?” he asked the owner who answered “I don’t know, he lost his brothers”.
“Wait do you have anything to do with the car accident?!” the man asked me.
“What car accident?!!” My entire being simply froze.
“I don’t know details, but around 10 km’s from here a car fell from the cliff into the valley. The area is lit up by police cars and fire engines.”
“No… I don’t understand… it can’t be…” I answered confused and shocked.
The man approached me; “Explain to me what happened”, but I wasn’t able to speak. I heard him speaking to owner in the background, taking out 50 shekels and paying the owner. Then looked at me and said “Let’s go, I’ll drive you there”.
We drove that direction and we came towards the police cars and fire engines. It was the same spot that we left the car! I got out of the car bitterly crying and prepared myself for the worst! But then I heard both my brothers!! “What are you doing here?!” they asked me.
“Why didn’t you call me!?!” “How could we call, both our batteries died and you don’t have a phone either!”
What happened was that they tried to push start the car without realizing that they pushed too much pushing the car off the cliff. Thank G-d my brother just managed to jump out of the car before it fell into the valley!
In the mean time, the firefighter came back up from the valley with our wallets and books in his hand. “Just to get the car out of there will cost you more than the car is worth!…just be happy that you are all safe” he said.
“What do we do now” my brother asked, “get into my car, I’ll take you home” the kind man offered.

On the way back home, we told him the whole story including my story which was the reason why we were even in this situation. Later on during the ride, the man asked us; “you said you are from Bnei Brak right? Do you know of a Rabbi called um…. Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky?” “Of course we do!” we answered confidently.
“Is it possible to get into him?” he asked. My brother – who has a lot of connections – used the man’s phone, called one of the Rabbi’s family members and said “No problem…I can get you in, even tonight!”. The man was in disbelief, “I’ve been trying to get into the Rabbi for a while now, to ask for a bracha for my sick daughter…”
When we arrived, the man went in to the tzadik and poured out his anguish and pain regarding his daughter. The Rabbi asked him “Are you shomer Shabbat?”
“um… no. but my daughter, ever since she became unwell around a month ago, began keeping Shabbat and eating Kosher as well.”
“If so… then I give you a blessing that she should have a refuah shlemah!”
But the man continued and asked “what could I do to help that situation – to ensure her recovery?”
The Rabbi answered; “You keep Shabbat and take care of the needs of a yeshiva boy who wishes to get married and Hashem will help.”
We also entered to receive a blessing and then met him outside again. He waited for us and said to me; “you are a yeshiva boy right? and you are getting married soon as well! Listen, I don’t think it is coincidence that we met nor is it happenstance that the Rabbi asked me to help a yeshiva boy get married! Look, I’m going to write you a cheque…” – he wrote a cheque of 100,000 shekels!! – “half of this is for your wedding and the other half is towards your rent for a year and if my daughter gets better I promise you an apartment in Bnei Brak!”
I just broke down in tears, not believing what my ears had just heard!
Two weeks later, we got married – a wedding more honorable then I could have ever imagined for myself – and of course we invited him and his daughter to the wedding. We rented an apartment and I was able to learn in a kollel with happiness and serenity like I always wanted! But of course I had a goal; to do all that I could for the refuah of his daughter – first and foremost as a token of thanks and gratitude for what this man did for me but also with the future in mind! I learnt for her recovery all the time as well as going to big Rabbis requesting blessings for her.
One day, around 10 months after the wedding, they came to visit us in our home and burst out with the news that their daughter had fully recovered! They accepted upon themselves to keep Shabbat and kosher, and further kept their promise and bought us a four room apartment in Bene Brak!”

הודו לה’ כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו

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