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“Your Dream Was Real”
By Menachem Ziegelboim

Sharon Sackville is a Shabbos observant, traditional woman who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She certainly wasn’t going to pick up the telephone ringing in her home on Shabbos. There were five rings before her answering machine picked up. “Shabbat shalom, Sharon. This is Dr. Stein. I know you don’t pick up the phone on Shabbos, but this is an emergency regarding yourself. Please, pick up the phone!”

Sharon was a young woman when this story took place in 5750. Her family had gotten involved with the Chabad community in Melbourne, and she became a special ed teacher at Beis Rivka. The tragedy began after that telephone call on Shabbos. Sharon’s heart skipped a beat when she heard the doctor’s message on her answering machine. She recognized his voice and knew this wasn’t a crank call. With a trembling hand she reached for the telephone and picked it up.

“You received a certain medication a few days ago,” said the doctor when she answered the telephone. “We just realized that this medication is not good for you and is even quite dangerous. It’s important that you come to the hospital immediately. A team of doctors will be waiting for you outside the emergency room.”

Sharon turned pale. “Perhaps I can push this off until this evening,” Sharon suggested. But the doctor insisted that she come immediately. “At least let me wait until my husband comes back from shul,” she pleaded.

“The doctors will be waiting for you in fifteen minutes,” said Dr. Stein decisively.

Sharon called for a cab and rushed to the hospital. Three doctors awaited her there with a stretcher, and she was rushed in for tests. Within a few hours she was given the terrible news that she had lost her white blood cells as a result of an overactive immune system, a disease known as leukemia, which was a result of an allergic reaction to the medicine she had been taking.

Sharon couldn’t grasp what was happening to her, especially as she felt fine and as strong as ever.

* * *

The very next evening though, Sharon began to feel an overall sense of weakness. Her white blood cells were quickly being destroyed and she was completely sapped of energy. Only one week later found her confined to her bed. Even the thin sheet covering her was too unbearably heavy for her. She could no longer stand up or even sit. She could barely move her hands. Her weight dropped to 88 pounds.

Lying in bed, she could hear the nurse speaking to her as though through a fog. “Can you take a phone call?” She couldn’t even hold the receiver. The nurse had to assist her. Mrs. Blesovsky, one of the Lubavitch women in Melbourne, was on the line. She asked whether Sharon wanted her to write to the Rebbe, asking for a bracha on her behalf.

She weakly answered yes. Then she added, “At least let me go with the Rebbe’s bracha.” A few moments later she lost consciousness.

The doctors tried to rouse her by putting damp towels on her face and massaging her temples, until her eyes opened again. As though from the distance, she heard her husband talking to the doctor in the corridor. They thought she couldn’t hear them. “What are her chances?” asked her husband.

“She has a few hours left,” answered the doctor in a low voice, though audibly enough for Sharon to hear.

Her head fell heavily on the white pillow, her eyes stared out vacantly before her. Though, despite her critical condition, she could still think.

The white of the wall blurred and changed color from red to blue. A long dark tunnel loomed ahead of her. She felt somebody silently open the door to the room and enter. She looked up and saw Rabbi Schneerson. He looked somber, and his blue eyes gazed upon her in empathy. The Rebbe approached the bed and then motioned to her to get up. His hands were outstretched towards her. “Get up, get up,” she heard him say.

Sharon had never met the Rebbe, though she recognized him from the many pictures hanging in the classrooms of Beis Rivka, and from the many stories she had heard in the teachers’ room.

Then she sensed somebody else entering the room. She looked across the room and saw her deceased grandmother motioning to her to get up. Sharon looked back at the Rebbe and felt his penetrating gaze. The Rebbe did not look worried. An inner peace emanated from him.

“Suddenly, a nurse came into the room and the vision disappeared. To my surprise, as well as to the nurse’s amazement, I was sitting up in bed with my arms outstretched. It was the same motion the Rebbe had made to me.”

The nurse’s eyes opened wide. After all, Sharon had found it difficult to lift her hands, and now she was sitting up with both arms outstretched in the air. When the nurse tried talking to Sharon, she discovered that Sharon was in a deep sleep.

When she finally opened her eyes, she did not know how much time had passed. Her mother was at her bedside. She saw that her daughter had opened her eyes, and she leaned over and kissed her forehead. “You received a bracha from Rabbi Schneerson,” she whispered. “The Rabbi wished you a complete recovery.”

“Mom, I will recover,” Sharon found herself saying with a deep inner conviction. “I know I will definitely get better.”

* * *

Sharon’s brother, Jay, a tall and sturdy young man, arrived home exhausted after a day’s work. He lay down, fell asleep in his clothes, and began to dream.

In his dream, he visited his sister in the hospital. He entered her room and found her on the verge of dying. Not knowing what to do, he stood not far from her bedside and cried. The door behind him suddenly opened and when he turned his head he saw a rabbi with a white beard. The rabbi approached the bed and after standing there for a while, he extended his hands towards her and said, “Get up, get up.” His sister suddenly opened her eyes and looked at the man. A spark of life could be seen in her eyes.

Jay sensed somebody else entering the room. He looked to the side and saw his deceased grandmother sitting on a chair off to the side. She also motioned to her granddaughter to get up.

His sister sat up in bed with a slight smile on her lips. Just at that moment, the man with the white beard turned and left the room.

Jay woke up and, looking around him, saw he was at home. He felt comforted by what he had witnessed until he remembered that it was only a dream. He went to the hospital, knowing that his sister’s condition was grave indeed.

Shortly thereafter, he met his mother at his sister’s bedside. He could still recall the details of the dream, finding it hard to shake off the wonderful vision he had seen. But he hesitated, wondering whether to share his dream or not.

Sharon turned to her mother and said, “Mom, I saw something earlier. I want to tell you about it, but you have to promise not to laugh.” It was apparent that she felt somewhat better. Her mother sat down to listen, and Sharon began describing the vision she had had a few hours earlier.

“I saw Rabbi Schneerson enter this room,” motioned Sharon to the door. “He approached me and motioned that I should get up from bed.”

Jay was stunned. Sharon was describing precisely what he had seen earlier. “I saw grandmother too, and she also motioned to me to get up.”

Jay stood up and moved closer to Sharon’s bed. “Grandmother was sitting in this corner, right?” Jay pointed to a corner of the room. “The rabbi entered from here and walked this way, didn’t he?”

Sharon looking at him in shock. Their mother had no idea what was going on, and looked from her son to her daughter in turn. Jay finished telling the dream and burst into tears. Sharon began crying, too. Both cried and described what they had seen, each one filling in the details of the dream the other had. She related what she had seen from her perspective, and he related what he had seen from where he had been standing — the same vision, but from different viewpoints.

After they had calmed down somewhat, Sharon’s mother asked her, “When did this happen?”

“In the afternoon,” Sharon replied after slight hesitation.

“And when did you see it?” she asked her son.

“In the afternoon, at 5:00.”

Sharon nodded. They had had the same vision at the same time.

* * *

In New York on a Sunday morning, Sharon stood in line for dollars, eager to encounter the Rebbe face to face and receive a dollar and a bracha. Sharon wanted to thank the Rebbe for saving her life, because from the moment she had seen that wondrous vision she had begun regaining her strength. The ailment that had threatened her life was cured. Her blood quickly returned to normal and all tests showed that she was fine. The doctors were simply amazed.

Within a week, Sharon was released from the hospital, and she was back at work at Beis Rivka a month later. She didn’t dare publicize the story of her dream, for she felt people would just laugh at her. She only told it to one of her good friends. (Though that very week the story became the talk of the town in the Chabad community in Melbourne.)

Now she stood in line waiting to receive a dollar from the Rebbe, and to express her gratitude. As she waited there, her good friend, Mrs. Rivka Yurkowitz, daughter of Chabad shaliach in Australia, Rabbi Yitzchok Groner, approached her. “My father is calling you,” she said and she motioned to Sharon to follow her.

But Sharon wanted to stay just where she was. “I have been standing here for two hours, and will see the Rebbe very shortly. Then I’ll come,” she explained.

Mrs. Yurkowitz walked away but was back within five minutes. “My father wants you to come right now. Don’t worry about your place in line. We’ll be back,” she said.

Sharon left the long line and accompanied her friend. She wasn’t familiar with 770, so she just obediently followed her. A minute later she met Rabbi and Mrs. Groner. “Let’s go see the Rebbe,” said Rabbi Groner brusquely and they arrived at Gan Eden HaTachton in a roundabout way.

Sharon saw the Rebbe. He stood there with a watch in his left hand and handing out dollars with his right hand. There was an atmosphere of quiet respect as people passed by, one after the other.

Rabbi Groner maneuvered them to the head of the line. Sharon was nearly in front of the Rebbe when the Rebbe turned his head towards her. She looked into his eyes and trembled, for she had seen that penetrating gaze before.

The Rebbe handed her a dollar, and if somebody hadn’t pointed it out to her, she wouldn’t have noticed it. She burst into tears. Mrs. Groner urged her to speak, but she couldn’t utter a word.

“Your dream was real,” the Rebbe said. “I wish you a refuah sheleima. Go to your family and everything will be fine.”

(Heard from Sharon - many thanks.)


The Rebbe turned his head towards her. She looked into his eyes and trembled, for she had seen that penetrating gaze before.


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