A Real Segulah – From the Chofetz Chaim


chofetz-chaim By Rabbi Abraham Twersky M.D.

We’ve been hit by hard times, and we desperately look for sources of help and chizuk. One great source of enormous value is Shabbos, as we say in lecho dodi, “Come, let us go to greet Shabbos, for it is the source of blessing.” The Talmud, Midrash and sefarim are replete with the blessings of Shabbos. Although we do not pray for our personal needs on Shabbos, there is a prayer before kiddush composed by the Arizal where he states that with observance of Shabbos, “we will be given sustenance and good parnassa without agony or mishap, from the mazal from which sustenance flows.”

But, you may say, “We observe Shabbos meticulously. Nothing is ever done in our home to violate Shabbos, chas veshalom, and we go to shul to daven and have a shiyur. We are shomrei Shabbos.”

True, but there is shemiras Shabbos and there is kavod Shabbos. The latter may be lagging a bit.

I would like to share with you a segula which was given by the Chafetz Chaim. This was related by Rabbi Kaplan of Safed.

As a youngster, Rabbi Kaplan learned in the Mir yeshivah, and roomed with a family. Friday morning, the husband went to the market to buy provisions for Shabbos, and his wife would say, “Come back early.” One time, Rabbi Kaplan returned before noon, and the wife was standing at the window, watching for her husband. “Why are you so anxious?” he asked. “It is early. There is still plenty time until Shabbos.” “I’ll tell you why,” she said.

“We have only one child, a son who was born many years after we were married. I saw that the child was not developing properly, and when the doctor examined him, he told us that the child’s heart was defective and that we should go to the heart specialist in Vilna.

“The heart specialist in Vilna said that there was nothing he had to offer. At the inn we lodged at I cried all night. One of the other guests asked why I was crying, and when I told her, she said, “On the way home, stop off in Radin by the Chafetz Chaim and get a berachah.

“When we came to Radin we were told that the Chafetz Chaim was old and very weak and that we could not see him. My heart sank, but then I recognized a young man, the Chafetz Chaim’s grandson who had roomed with us when he was at the yeshivah. I pleaded with him, and he arranged for us to see the Chafetz Chaim.

“I cried out my bitter heart to the Chafetz Chaim, who said, ‘Don’t cry, my child. Be besimchah. Promise me that every Friday you will have the Shabbos table set before noon and the candles ready. Be sure that everything in the kitchen is finished early, and be careful to light the candles well before sunset.’ I promised, and he gave us a berachah for a refuah shleimah.

“I kept my promise to the Chafetz Chaim, and from then on I could see the child developing well. I took him to the doctor, who said, ‘Were you at the clinic in Leipzig?’ I told him that we had gone to the specialist in Vilna. ‘Take him back to Vilna,’ he said.

“When the specialist in Vilna saw my son, he said, “This is not the same child you had here last time.’ I told him that this was our only child. He shook his head in amazement. ‘There is nothing wrong with the child’s heart,’ he said. ‘I did not want to tell you last time, but your child’s heart was virtually gone.’ I told him that we had a berachah from the Chafetz Chaim.

“The specialist was Jewish but not observant. He said, ‘Sometimes there are things we, as doctors, can do for an ailing heart. But to replace a totally defective heart with a new, healthy heart, that is something only the Chafetz Chaim could do.’

“Now you understand,” the woman said, “why I am so anxious that my husband return early.”

So, implement this wonderful segulah. It is not respectful of Shabbos to rush into the house ten minutes before candle lighting. If you were hosting a prominent person, you would be there before he arrived to greet him. Prepare to welcome the Shabbos with joy. Just as the Chafetz Chaim’s blessing healed a diseased heart, so it will heal those who are broken-hearted.

Shemiras Shabbos is, of course, most important, but kavod Shabbos goes one step further. Above and beyond refraining from forbidden acts, we must honor Shabbos, so that everything that we do on Shabbos should be different than the weekdays. We should speak differently on Shabbos. We need not necessarily refrain from talking at all on Shabbos, like some special people do, but our speech should be much more refined. Before I went to medical school, one of the things the Steipler gaon instructed me was not to read anything on Shabbos except sifre kodesh, not even to look at the headlines of a newspaper.

The Shabbos candles are kavod Shabbos, but are also for shalom bayis, to remind us to be extra sensitive and respectful to our spouse. The sefarim say that “Do not kindle a flame in your homes on Shabbos,” means to avoid igniting arguments, so that Shabbos should be a citadel of peace and harmony.

Shabbos should be a day of supreme simcha. Hashem told Moshe, “I have a special gift in my treasury for my children. It is called Shabbos.” How thrilled we should be to receive this gift from Hashem!

When Shabbos comes to a close, it is a great kavod to escort the Shabbos Queen with the melaveh malkah meal. It is especially meritorious if friends join in the melaveh malkah, to eat together, sing zemiros together and especially to relate stories about our tzaddikim. The gaon of Vilna had a sister who used to fast frequently. The gaon said, “One melaveh malkah is worth more than all your fast days.”

If we give Shabbos the proper kavod, we will merit the beracha cited in the Ribon Kal Haolamim prayer before Kiddush: “May we merit to receive Shabbosos amid abundant gladness, amid wealth and honor and amid fewness of sins.”

{ Hamodia Weekly/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. the economy might be bad but for kollel families it really does not make a difference anyways since they are really not effected due to the fact that they are learning anyways and not working.

  2. It is not necessarily so – that it doesn’t affect kollel families. If they are getting help from family etc. their family may not be able to give as much. Many people can’t give yeshivos and kollelim as much money so the kollelim can’t pay as much or on time. It affects everyone.


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