By Chaim Bar Yitzchok
Torah describes how wise men created the objects used
in the Mishkan and the clothing of the Kohanim, including the choshen.
In this article we visit R’ Aryeh and Gila Gabrielov. R’ Aryeh is an artisan
who works with "gold, silver, copper and stones," and Gila is
a gemologist who uses gems for healing and diagnosis. They describe meeting the
Rebbe MH"M and the life they led prior to becoming involved
in Yiddishkeit. Both use their unique professions to spread Judaism.
and Gila Gabrielov live in Bnei Brak. He is an artist, designer and woodcarver,
and she is a doctor and lecturer at Tel Aviv University and New York University,
as well as a sought-after guest speaker at other universities in Europe and the
was born in little Tel Aviv in 1947. His grandfather was Rav Yisachar Leviov,
the rav in the south of Tel Aviv. His parents were traditional, but sent
him to public school. At the age of 18 he was drafted and he fought in the
were traveling with a truck laden with explosives when suddenly a shell hit us
and the entire vehicle exploded in a series of mighty blasts. 12 people died and
only a friend and I were saved. My friend lost his sight and hearing, but I got
away with just minor hearing loss.
Hashem I survived, but I was left with deep scars, emotionally and
physically. Although I miraculously made it, I didn’t understand that it was
an act of G-d. That’s how far I was from Yiddishkeit."
his army service, Aryeh worked in diamonds. He learned how to polish diamonds
professionally and sold them. He quickly became an expert in the field and
opened his own business. When the diamond industry crashed, he began dealing in
had grown up in a traditional home. But Gila, his wife, did not grow up with any
Yiddishkeit whatsoever. After her schooling, she was drafted as a
military secretary and journalist (in the army camp) and was assigned coverage
of the Israeli troops. After her army service she attended U.C.L.A., where she
received her doctorate in gemology.
she grew up working in her parents’ jewelry store in Tel Aviv, that, along
with her studies, enabled her to assist in running her husband’s exclusive
jewelry company, Argil (for Aryeh and Gila).
attended all the important jewelry exhibits in the world, one of which was in
Basel, Switzerland," relates Aryeh. "One day, Nesanel (Natti) Shloush,
a Lubavitcher Chassid, came to our exhibit. He also worked in jewelry, and he
began to convince us not to open our exhibit on Shabbos. We told him that
according to the contract we had to open our exhibit every day of the show, and
besides, that was the best day for business. Our purpose there was to work, not
he left we discussed it. Although we pushed him off, we took his request
seriously. We said, ‘Okay, we’ve been working hard, we deserve a little
break.’ Shabbos came and we didn’t open, despite the huge loss that
next day, Natti came by and asked what had happened on Shabbos. He found it hard
to believe we had closed. That day he invited us to New York to photograph our
collection and to close a big deal with us." Divine providence was at work,
for that visit to New York was the beginning of a significant change in the
the past, we had never had free time whenever we came to New York," they
recall. "We always had appointments from morning to night. But this time,
since our jewelry was being photographed, we had time to tour and relax. Natti
urged us to join him at 770 to see the Rebbe. We had no particular interest in
it, but since we had nothing else to do, we agreed."
"We arrived at 770 late in the morning. The Rebbe hadn’t arrived yet.
While we stood near the building discussing what to do, a car stopped and the
Rebbe emerged. We identified him immediately from the pictures hanging in our
Rebbe walked to the door and glanced at me. Suddenly I felt myself becoming
totally overwhelmed with awe... I can’t explain what I felt in that moment,
but all the experiences and pleasures I had ever had can’t compare to the
feeling I had then. The Rebbe walked down the path to the courtyard and I
followed behind, captivated, until the entrance. The Rebbe turned around and
looked at me and there was a huge smile in his eyes. I thought, ‘That is the
look of an angel of G-d.’"
"She didn’t say a word for two hours after that. She just sat and
described his first encounter with the Rebbe: "I came there like a wise-guy
Israeli. I held out my hand to the Rebbe. Only later I realized the chutzpa,
but the Rebbe smiled and understood."
"The entire way back to the hotel I was in shock. Afterwards we got two
pictures of the Rebbe from a friend, and when I returned to Eretz Yisroel I put
one picture in my office at Tel Aviv University. That picture made a tremendous
impact on the people who came in. I remember how one day my friend walked in and
innocently told me, ‘Today I was walking on Allenby and I saw a picture of
your grandfather in a store.’ I didn’t know what she was talking about, but
then I realized she thought the Rebbe was my grandfather!"
after meeting the Rebbe, no significant change took place in their lives, and
the business continued to preoccupy them. But years later an event took place
that shook them up.
was in the ‘80’s," relates Gila. "Our daughter was studying at a
crafts school in Vancouver. We had a lot of nachas from her. One day we
received a phone call - our daughter had been in a serious car accident and was
hospitalized in critical condition. We took the first plane out to the hospital,
and seeing her critical state, we felt helpless.
I recalled the Rebbe’s gaze and I knew what to do. I called Natti Shloush and
begged him to hurry to the Rebbe and ask for a bracha. I had the nerve to
tell him to tell the Rebbe that he had to save my daughter.
few hours later the phone rang and he said that the Rebbe had given his bracha
and added that she would recover and be fine. The Rebbe’s bracha revived
me. I grabbed on to it like one who finds a great treasure. I repeated the
sentence to whoever would listen to me. I know that the doctors and visitors
thought I was crazy, but that sentence kept me going. Our daughter went through
a difficult time, but in the end, baruch Hashem, she recovered.
story is connected with another story that happened. While our daughter was
recuperating, we once entered her hospital room and saw her looking up a name in
the Vancouver telephone book. She said she was looking for the number of a
rabbi. She wanted to ask a few questions.
were surprised because she had never had any ties with a religious person
before. By Divine providence, she found the name of Rabbi Yitzchok Weinberg, the
Rebbe’s shaliach in Vancouver. She contacted him and he began visiting
her every day and took care of all her needs. From the first time we met, we
became friends. We had Shabbos meals in his home and saw what Shabbos was all
about for the first time.
spent two months in Vancouver until she recovered, and learned a lot about
Judaism from Rabbi Weinberg and his family. Who would have imagined that years
later, the rav who was mekarev us and helped us in Vancouver would
invite us, as full-fledged Lubavitchers, to be makerev and give lectures
and workshops at the events he and his wife make!"
"After we returned to Eretz Yisroel, Natti asked whether we had written the
Rebbe a thank-you letter. At that moment I realized that when we had a problem
we knew who to turn to, but when it all worked out, we didn’t even think of a
thank-you. Of course we quickly took care of that, and shortly thereafter Rabbi
Segal of Afula called us and read us an answer from the Rebbe that contained
many brachos. He added that the Rebbe also suggested we keep Shabbos.
That was a bomb, as far as I was concerned, but it didn’t fall on deaf
"At least Aryeh had some Jewish background, but I had nothing. We were
living in Ramat Gan at the time, and I called the Chabad House there and they
referred me to Mrs. Bella Rosenberg. I decided to go and listen to her whenever
she would give a lecture. I remember that I took her in my car to a class and I
asked her whether after the class I would know how to keep Shabbos!"
kept up his connection with the Rebbe, slowly edging into a life of mitzvos.
When he visited his children in New York, he went to 770 many times without
someone having to shlep him there. "I already understood and
appreciated the privilege of being with the Rebbe to receive his guidance,"
time I arrived at 770 in the middle of a farbrengen. It was late at night
and I was very tired, but I told myself that I had to speak to the Rebbe no
matter what. Since there were no private audiences at the time, I stood in the shul
and figured out how the Rebbe would walk out and where I could stand so that I
could stop him and ask him something.
all went according to plan, and at the end of the farbrengen the Rebbe
began moving towards the exit where I stood. That’s when the plan drastically
changed and instead of my approaching the Rebbe, I saw the Rebbe standing right
near me saying, ‘You wanted to ask me something?’ I couldn’t utter a word.
finally stammered and said something like, ‘Everything’s fine. Baruch
Hashem, I have no questions.’ The Rebbe smiled and continued on his way.
That’s when I wondered where all my questions had gone. I guess the power of
the Rebbe’s presence had answered my questions..."
visited Aryeh in his workroom on the second floor of his home. I was amazed to
see how delicate and complicated is the work that he does. He designs, engraves,
creates with silver, cuts, solders, and then sets precious gems in a delicate
arrangement with other fine metals. He puts tremendous effort into his work.
who know Aryeh testify to the rare talent he has with gemstones, and the high
quality of work he does with his creations in wood and silver. Aryeh designs and
creates unique pieces in his own original style. The walls of his home are the
gallery which display his amazing work. Every piece contains verses from the
has an excellent reputation. To date he has done work for several rabbanim
and Admurim, as well as dozens of presidents and heads of state, l’havdil.
Many Torah institutions have ordered work from him to beautify their shuls and
to award their donors.
couple became more involved in Yiddishkeit. They began asking deep
questions about the meaning of life and searched for real answers. The road led
directly to the world of Torah and Chassidus.
Gabrielov family moved to Bnei Brak a few years ago. They keep in touch with
their friends from the past and try to be mekarev them to Yiddishkeit
and the light of Chassidus.
work is also fascinating. She is a doctor of behavioral science and also has a
doctorate in gemology. Since she has become religious, she has received an
additional doctorate in the field based on Torah sources.
stones of the choshen as a healing for body and soul" is a field
that is warmly accepted at the university. To Gila’s surprise, healing with
gemstones has many sources in the Gemara, Midrash, and early commentators, and
she has arrived at startling conclusions. Today she is one of the few
researchers, perhaps the only one in the world, who has found a connection
between science and faith in the study of precious stones. She is known as a
leading authority in the field of gemstones. In her work she has discovered
ancient means of diagnosis and healing. She diagnoses illnesses and physical and
spiritual problems, and she prescribes treatments and heals.
is an important part of working with stones," says Gila. "Through
gemstones, a person can discover and clarify his various problems and their
causes. Based on the diagnosis, a person can get a body and soul X-ray as to
what is going on, and can be helped by properly using the stones."
sort of problems can be aided through the stones of the choshen?
solutions can be found, which are not available through conventional medicine,
for problems like pain in the joints, osteoporosis, blood pressure, high stress
levels, depression, and many other things."
has so many stories about people being healed at her clinic that even skeptics
begin to wonder. There was a bris that couldn’t take place because the
child was jaundice. A friend referred the father to Dr. Gabrielov, who gave him
jade to put on the baby. Within hours the bilirubin level had gone down and the bris
was done on time.
uses this knowledge to spread Yiddishkeit. She lectures at Tel Aviv
University, proudly and modestly dressed with a head-covering.
do they think about that at the university?
just do it and they accept it just fine."
the evenings she lectures at various places and tells all her audiences,
"There is nothing that Hashem created for no reason. Hashem invested
special powers even within the inanimate. Stones have tremendous power."
do people think about your non-conventional approach?
love it. People who would never agree to listening to a talk about Torah accept
this as though it were given at Sinai."
her lectures, Dr. Gabrielov teaches how to heal with gemstones, relating the
story of her life, which helps mekarev them to Yiddishkeit. She is
also popular among the many Chabad Houses in Eretz Yisroel and around the world.
She has been invited by many shluchim in the U.S. and Canada (like Rabbi
Raskin in Montreal, Rabbi Berkowitz in Miami Beach, Rabbi Weinberg in Vancouver,
Rabbi Landau in Toronto, and the Chabad House in Calgary), where she lectures
about the healing power of the stones of the choshen, as well as emuna,
making a tremendous impression on her audience.
invite her to come back. She is preparing to deliver a series of lectures for
Rabbi Weinberg and Rabbi Landau again. Experience has shown that many Jews begin
coming to the Chabad House as a result of her lectures.
stones are also connected to Geula, as the prophet Yeshaya (54:12) says,
"I will set your window [frames] with ruby and [make] your gates of
carbuncle stones, and your entire border of precious stones." The
commentator, Kli Zahav, writes: "There will be precious stones
everyone will benefit from; all the stones within your borders will reveal their
special properties and will be the precious stones through which everyone will
have their wishes fulfilled."
"You’d be surprised by the open-mindedness of people," says
Gila. "They figure, ‘if it won’t help, at least it won’t hurt,’
without understanding that the stones of the choshen as well as other
precious stones have natural healing properties with which Hashem endowed them.
People are helped with problems both large and small, physical and emotional,
such as manic depression. You don’t need to use chemical lithium when there’s
a natural lithium agent in the form of a precious stone called turmelin, which
is extremely effective."
who suffer from painful ear infections don’t need antibiotics with all the
side effects. They can be treated with four tiny stones taped behind the ear.
This gets rid of the pain immediately!
are two stones that are a terrific aid for concentration and memory, most
helpful when studying Gemara. Eight-year-old Yosef Chaim suffered from learning
problems and they wanted to take him out of his Talmud Torah and put him in
special education. Dr. Gabrielov diagnosed him by using stones. He was given the
proper stones to help with his motor skills and with controlling his emotions,
and he began improving at school.
woman in Bnei Brak who hadn’t had children in 14 years went to Dr. Gabrielov
after protracted and fruitless treatment, to ask for her advice. Dr. Gabrielov
remembered what Rabbeinu Bechayai writes about the ruby: "If people would
grind it and mix it in food and drink, it would help a great deal for pregnancy.
A year went by and Dr. Gabrielov was invited to the bris.
woman from Yerushalayim continually miscarried. Chazal write about even
ha’tekuma in Gemara Shabbos (66b), saying that women can go out with these
stones on Shabbos...lest they miscarry - even if she is not pregnant, lest she
become pregnant and miscarry." Apparently this stone was used in the time
of the Gemara to prevent miscarriage. Dr. Gabrielov gave the woman the proper
stone and for the first time in her life, the woman carried her baby to term.
says stones can’t help with a livelihood? Someone from Yerushalayim was having
a hard time with parnasa and was looking for ways to improve his
situation. The bank threatened to take away his apartment if he couldn’t pay
the mortgage. Chazal say there’s a stone called Cat’s Eye, about
which the Midrash Talpios says that whoever carries it will become wealthy.
After Dr. Gabrielov gave him the proper stone for his situation, the man’s
financial situation improved and the family retained their home.
Sh’mos 28:17-20: "You shall fill it with a stone mounting, four rows
of stone: a row of odem, pitda, and barekes - the one row;
the second row: nophech, sapir, and yahalom; the third row:
leshem, sh’vo, and achlama; and the fourth row: tarshish,
shoham, and yashfeh; set in gold shall they be in their
commentator Rabbeinu Bechayai writes that every precious stone draws down
Heavenly powers. The Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 10:4) says that when rain falls,
everything is blessed...even a precious stone senses it and receives power and
quality." The commentator Even Ezra (Sh’mos 28:9) says that every power
is distributed among each of the stones according to their type.
find that stones were used in the times of the Mishna and Gemara. The Rashbi
says (Bava Basra 16) that Avrohom Avinu had a precious stone hanging from his
neck. Any sick person who saw it was healed immediately. When Avrohom passed
away, Hashem suspended it in the sun.