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Never Lose Hope

Shalvi Weissman, M.Sc.

When Rabbi Yitzchak Weingott was told he had a month to live, he knew he had two choices: descend into hopeless gloom, or believe that a miracle could happen. Twenty years and a clean bill of health later, he’s made a mission of spreading comfort and promise to patients facing the dreaded disease.

Monday, September 02, 2013


Nothing could have prepared Rabbi Yitzchak Weingott for the news that had just shaken up the world as he knew it. As he made his way out of the clinic, he was surprised that the neighborhood looked just like it did an hour ago. The streetlights were still shining, two cars were vying for a parking space, and someone was talking into a cell phone. Why, for everyone else, were things still so regular?

An hour earlier, he too had been just another yungerman, husband, father of three small children, his mind preoccupied with 1,000 everyday trivialities. Today he was getting a third opinion to check out the constant fevers and unexplained weakness that had taken control of his system during the past two months.

He replayed the last hour over again, as if it would somehow change the verdict. He thought about how the doctor glanced at him cautiously and opened with some words of apology. Reb Yitzchak no longer remembers them; they were overshadowed by the most horrifying words he’d heard in his young life. In polished, professional terms, the doctor described the growth that had taken up residence in Reb Yitzchak’s body.

“What does that mean for me?” he asked, trying to simplify, quantify the news. “I want to know the truth.”

“If you want to know the truth — there’s not much that can be done for you,” the doctor admitted. “Considering the test results, I’d give you a month. Do whatever you always dreamed of doing and never had time for.” Then, trying to inject some hope, he added, “Meanwhile, we’ll still make every effort to treat you ...”

 

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