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"As Hashem commanded Moshe, so did the daughters of Tzelofechad do" (Bemidbar 36:10).

We are commanded to believe in Hashem and also in His servants and to follow their instructions. What we don't realize, though, is that our level of success is sometimes dependant upon the degree of our belief.

Chassidim tell of a barren couple who came to a great Rebbe and asked his blessing that they be privileged to have children. He blessed them warmly that by next year they should have a son. Overjoyed, they immediately went shopping and bought a crib, a baby carriage and other essentials for rearing children.

Exactly one year later the woman gave birth to a healthy boy and the parents came to tell the Rebbe the good news and invite him to the bris.

The Rebbe's attendant was perturbed. When the happy parents had left, he approached the Rebbe and asked, "Holy Rabbi. I believe with all of my might in the power of your blessings, and I have no doubt that it was they that brought this couple their child, thank G-d. Yet I cannot understand. I am your loyal attendant and have served you faithfully for years. I and my wife have asked you many times for your blessing that we too have children and you have, indeed, granted our wish and blessed us every time. Yet my wife still remains barren to this day. How can it be that this simple couple was answered through you immediately and we were not?"

The Rebbe smiled and humbly explained. "It is not my blessings or prayers that perform the miracle; for who am I to have such powers? But rather it is the unequivocal belief that the supplicants have which bring Hashem's blessings upon them. You say that you believe wholeheartedly in my blessings and question the difference between you and them. Yet the difference is quite obvious. After receiving my blessings, did you ever go right out and buy baby items? Of course not. You waited to see if the blessing would be fulfilled. They, on the other hand, had no doubt. That is why their request was granted immediately."

In the book Aleynu Lishabeach, Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein relates a fantastic story about his great father-in-law, HaGaon, Harav Eliashiv shlita.

A young talmid chacham (Torah scholar) who regularly attended the classes of HaRav Eliashiv became very ill R.l. and the best doctors in Israel declared that there is no hope for him. In Jerusalem, there is a clinic called Magen LeCholeh which is run by Benny Fisher, who gives medical advice to those in need. He suggested that the man and his wife fly to the USA where a great professor, an expert in the field, may have some ideas how to save his life. The fellow's wife agreed but requested an audience with HaRav Eliashiv first to discuss the matter with him.

On Friday afternoon, the couple and Benny Fisher sat before the sage. After studying the medical documents, Rav Eliashiv too came to the conclusion that nothing could be done. "All I can do," he said to them, "is bless you and pray that Hashem sends a refuah sheleimah (a complete healing)." It seemed that the great Rabbi was of the opinion that even the trip to the USA was a waste.

For all practical purposes, the meeting was over. Yet the distraught wife suddenly stood up and emotionally addressed the Rav. "It seems," she began, "that I will soon be a widow with many young orphans in my home. If that is Hashem's will, I accept it with love. But my question to the Rabbi is as follows. In a few years from now, my children will be older and more understanding of what occurred. One day they will ask me, 'Mother, dear. Please tell us. Did you do everything in your power to try to keep our precious father alive?' Does the Rabbi believe that I will be able to look them straight in the eye and tell them 'yes?'"

Suddenly, HaRav Eliashiv turned to Benny Fisher and told him, "You are to travel to the States with them right now!"

Benny was shocked. "Did the Rabbi really mean 'right now,' - right before Shabbos - even though it involves desecrating the Holy Day? Or did he mean first thing after the Sabbath ends?"

Rabbi Eliashiv replied, "I said, 'right now' - immediately.

The end of the story is that the fellow received special treatment from the professor in the States and, baruch Hashem, returned to Jerusalem alive and well, where he continues to attend the classes of HaGaon HaRav Eliashiv shlita to this very day.

HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, another son-in-law of HaRav Eliashiv explained that apparently when his father-in-law saw the intense belief the woman had that Hashem could yet heal her husband, even though all had lost hope, he decided that indeed there may yet be something to do and that it was even permissible to desecrate the Shabbos in order to try to achieve Hashem's salvation through another emissary.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel