Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Yosef Chaim’s Secret Formula

Shira Yehudit Djalilmand

“I keep asking Hashem to take away my freckles and He hasn’t done it yet. Maybe I could find a remedy in that book!”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

 Mishpacha image



o, Yosef Chaim, what have you been learning today?” asked Abba.

We were sitting down to supper. Ima had put a huge, steaming bowl of homemade couscous on the table. Mmmm! My favorite! Ima served me a huge portion; she knows how much I like couscous! I made a brachah, took a bite, and turned to Abba.

“We learned something really interesting today, Abba! We read in Masechet Berachot

about an amazing sefer that had cures for all the illnesses in the world!”

“Ah, that would be the Sefer Harefuot,” said Abba.

“Yes, that’s the one!” I was pretty excited about it because it seemed like such a great thing. “The rav said it’s believed that Shlomo Hamelech wrote it, but then Chizkiyahu Hamelech hid it, no?

“That’s right,” Abba agreed.

“What a shame!” I exclaimed. “Look at all the sick people in the world! They could all be cured!”

“Well, Rashi says that Chizkiyahu Hamelech hid the sefer because he thought that people were turning to the book for remedies instead of to Hashem,” Abba explained.

“Well, I wish we still had the book!” my kid sister Sara Malka piped up. She’s eight and pretty sharp. “I keep asking Hashem to take away my freckles and He hasn’t done it yet. Maybe I could find a remedy in that book!”

Poor Sara Malka! I don’t know how it happened; in a family of Moroccans with olive skin, black hair, and brown eyes, she turned out fair-skinned and fair-haired with blue eyes. I guess some Ashkenazi gene from some long-ago generation must have snuck in! And that freak gene also gave Sara Malka a million freckles scattered all over her face! She absolutely hates them. I wish we had the Sefer Harefuot just so I could get rid of her freckles for her (although between you and me, I think they’re cute!)


Suddenly, an idea jumped into my head. You know how it is with my ideas; they just appear miraculously.

“Ima, how is Geveret Zilberman?” I asked innocently.

Geveret Zilberman is one of our neighbors. She’s very old but still very alert. Lots of people in the Old City go to her for cures. She’s not a doctor, but she knows all kinds of traditional remedies, passed down from generation to generation.

“She’s fine, as far as I know, Yosef Chaim,” Ima replied. “Why do you ask?”

“Oh, no particular reason,” I answered casually. “Great couscous, Ima!” I added, changing the subject quickly.

The next day, on my way home from Talmud Torah, I knocked on Geveret Zilberman’s door. I thought I would just ask her something… (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 711)


Related Stories

Say Cheese!

Leah Reisman

When you hear the word Shavuos, I bet you start thinking about cheesecake. And when you hear the wor...

Ancient Medical Secrets of the Cairo Genizah

Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod

Thanks to medieval Egyptian packrats and one modern Israeli researcher, we’re tapping in to ancient ...

Teen Fiction: Flexible Friendship

Bassy Goldhirsch

The decision is mine: to go to camp and enjoy myself, or stay in the city, in the sweltering heat, t...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time