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Tending Greatness

C.B. Gavant

What it’s like to practice medicine…when your patient is the gadol hador?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When Dr. Alan Weiss, a cardiologist from St. Louis, Missouri, was first introduced to Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach over 20 years ago, he was a recent baal teshuvah who knew nothing about the gadol until a friend offered to bring him for a brachah. “I walked in and thought, ‘This man is in his 90s, how can he remember anything?’ ” recalls Dr. Weiss. Rav Shach looked at him with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Maybe the doctor has something for my memory?” That exchange sparked a decade-long relationship between the gadol and the doctor, replete with countless demonstrations of warmth and attention that Dr. Weiss still treasures. But Dr. Weiss is far from the only physician to have nurtured a strong bond with some of our nation’s greatest leaders. There’s a small cadre of doctors who consider it their greatest honor to be the trusted practitioners for eminent gedolim, navigating a fine balance between their instinctive awe and professional obligations toward these extraordinary patients.

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