Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Aharon Rubin

As a child in Morocco, Yitzchak Lasry never envisioned himself in a white coat and gloves, taking blood samples and filling out charts in a sterile hospital setting. But the tenacious teen found his calling as a male nurse at Shaare Zedek, where he served many of Jerusalem’s luminaries. After close to three decades on call, Rabbi Lasry still remembers the Baba Sali’s song-filled exit from the hospital, the compliment he received from Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s cold hand, and the onl

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

hospital hallwayIf you daven Shacharis k’vasikin at the Kosel, you might encounter an elderly Jew, his face exuding radiance, standing beside the entrance to Wilson’s Arch. His gentle face is framed by a snow-white beard and a white knitted yarmulke. Some people take him to be a Baba and incline their heads to receive his blessing, even though they’re not quite sure who he is.

There are some clues, though, that hint at the man’s unusual character. On the bimah before him sits a small suitcase containing thirty pairs of tefillin, inscribed with the words “Tefillin Gemach.” Below those words are the man’s name, Rabbi Yitzchak Lasry, his phone number, and instructions for borrowers to leave a deposit or collateral. Three half-full tzedakah boxes, each for a different cause, also stand silently beside the bearded man, waiting for passersby to contribute coins.

Rabbi Lasry has been davening vasikin here for the past 45 years. He spends his mornings engaged in Torah study and tefillah, then hurries to attend shiurim at one of the four kollelim in the network he has been managing for the past 19 years. The kollelim are all situated at sacred sites: the Kosel, Kever Rochel, Shimon HaTzaddik, and Mearas HaMachpeilah. The members of these kollelim learn from sunrise to sunset without cease, while maintaining a complete taanis dibbur. “The Ramchal taught us that learning without interruption is the cure for all troubles and the way to be saved from all evil decrees,” Rabbi Lasry explains.

For the hundreds of mispallelim at the Kosel, Rabbi Lasry seems part of the scenery. Few know the story of the venerable manager of the tefillin gemach, the man who as a teenager fought a personal battle against secularization — and as a grown man served all of the gedolei Yisrael who were hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.



To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

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