Last week, an historic gathering took place at the home of HaRav Mattisyahu Salomon shlit”a, Mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha, in Lakewood, New Jersey.
Although the Mashgiach could not personally attend due to poor health, he nonetheless asked for an important Asifas Harabbanim, called by the Mashgiach shlita and the Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, to help cancer patients in Lakewood and elsewhere.
The Rabbanim in attendance, including all four Roshei HaYeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoha, many Rabbanim of local Kehilos as well as many of the Roshei Chaburah of Bais Medrash Govoha, came together to discuss the upcoming “Sefer Hachaim” dinner of the Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society (RCCS), the organization that sponsors insurance policies and provides other services for Cholim afflicted with the dreaded disease, including scores of patients who are residents of Lakewood.
The fact that the Mashgiach insisted that it take place in his home, despite his being unable to be there due to health reasons, attests to the Mashgiach’s tremendous support and involvement with the goings on of this holy mosad, RCCS.
“The dinner which will take place on the Sunday before Yom Kippur (September 23rd)” said R’ Menashe Frankel “is not simply a dinner, it will be a Ma’amad of ‘Teshuva, Tefilah U’Tzedaka’, with Tehilim recited B’Rabim for all Cholei Yisroel, to help our families, our friends, and our neighbors who are suffering so much with the pain of this dreaded machalah“
R’ Menashe then introduced the founder of RCCS, R’ Hershel Kohn. “Anyone who spends some time with R’ Hershel” said R’ Menashe “sees that what he does is listens. He listens to countless Cholim who unburden themselves to him. He listens to their pain. He listens to their tears. He listens and then he does. He founded RCCS to help every Choleh with the financial as well as the emotional and physical aspects of this Machlah. He listens to them, and it’s our duty to now listen to him. We have to listen to him because he is the ‘Nosei B’Ol’ for Cholei Yisroel around the world, including in our city of Lakewood”
R’ Hershel Kohn, founder and president of RCCS, opened his remarks with a beracha of Refuah Shelaimah for the Mashgiach shlit’a and then thanked him for his unwavering support of the holy work of RCCS and for opening his home to the cause.
” I am a shaliach of over 800 Cholei Yisroel, including 120 in Eretz Yisroel and over 80 from right here in your city of Lakewood!” proclaimed R’ Hershel.
“The pain, the darkness, which these Cholim suffer on a daily basis, is beyond description. If you would follow the cases that RCCS deals with for one day in our office, dear Rabbanim, you would run out! It would be impossible for you to bear the pain! Today alone, 6 new patients sent in applications. The pain is unbearable and we cannot and will not remain silent!
“Last week when we met with the Mashgiach, he stated that he believed that cancer was a Gezeirah, a continuation of the Gezeirah of the Holocaust, albeit with more ‘Hester’. The Mashgiach proclaimed that there is no doubt that supporting RCCS is 100% ‘aniyei Ircha’ and this is even more so today than ever before as so many Lakewood residents R”L are afflicted with the dreaded machalah.
Following R’ Hershel’s remarks, the Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler addressed the assemblage. The Rosh Yeshiva stressed that supporting RCCS is not simply a Chesed, or a nedava of a few dollars which is a nice thing to do; “It is Hatzolas Nefashos!
Supporting RCCS is saving the life of a Choleh. plain and simple; by showing the Ribono Shel Olam that we, as a community are uniting and doing whatever we can for the cholim, by supporting with money as well as via Tefilos for the cholim, Hashem will respond by allowing the work of RCCS, his sheluchim, to bear positive fruit with a Refuah Shelaima B’Karov”
The Rosh Yeshiva emphasized that the “Sefer Hachaim” dinner is being held at the most opportune time, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, when all of Klal Yisroel needs Zechusim; and what bigger zechus is there than saving the lives of Cholei Yisroel.
The final remarks were delivered by R’ Sruli Fried, Director of Programs and Services for Chai Lifeline. R’ Sruly, who is personally involved with hundreds of local cholim and their families, attested to the vital importance of the services and financial support provided by RCCS.
“When a family first gets that dreaded diagnosis, there are so many overwhelming feelings that sweep over them. Which hospital should we go to? Which doctor should we call? How are we going to pay for the best treatment for our child without insurance and many similar crushing thoughts.
The very first thing we at Chai Lifeline tell such a family is “Don’t worry, we will put you in touch with RCCS and you will be shown all the options of hospitals and insurance plans and the right one will be chosen- and paid for!”
“There is no question that Chai Lifeline in Lakewood could not do our work if not for the fact that RCCS is there at those critical initial stages of the diagnosis to arrange for the doctors, hospitals, insurance plans etc.”
“One last point” added R’ Sruly, “the initial Chesed that RCCS does in arranging the hospitals and insurance is amazing, but what people have to realize is that for the duration of the Machlah, for months and sometimes years, each and every monthly policy bill is paid without fanfare and without anybody talking about it! Millions of dollars spent, month after month, to take care of Cholei Yisroel! Mi K’Amcha Yisroel!”
R’ Sruli implored all the Rabbanim to convey to their Mispalelim the importance of attending the dinner on Sunday, September 23, as supporting RCCS makes a difference in the life of Cholim from their initial diagnosis until their eventual cure B’Ezras Hashem.
A “Kol Koreh” letter imploring the community to support the holy work of RCCS was signed by the Mashgiach, The Roshei Yeshiva and by all the Rabbanim in attendance at the gathering, which will be publicized throughout the city in the coming days.