By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
Join us for a story of two remarkable girls. The first is a high school age girl, in shul, on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar – Yom Kippur. This story happened on Yom Kippur 5783 – yesterday. Somehow, some way, she merited a remarkable z’chus on the very day of Yom Kippur. But let’s start at the beginning of this three-point story.
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:7 tells us of the ideal criterion we should use in choosing a shliach tzibbur for slichos and the Yomim Nora’im:
- He should be worthy of the role to represent the entire congregation
- He should be a gadol baTorah
- He should excel in maasim Tovim
- He should be 30 years old or more.
- He should be married with children.
- He should be able to genuinely pour his heart out in prayer
There is a certain type of exacerbation, wherein the airways become swollen and inflamed. Muscles around the airways will contract. Simultaneous to this contraction, the airways produce extra mucus. The repercussions of both of these cause the bronchial tubes to narrow.
Coughing and wheezing ensue. At times, it can become a life-threatening emergency. This type of exacerbation is commonly known as an “asthma attack.”
It was only in the 1960’s that asthma was recognized as a chronic inflammatory disease. Before that doctors thought that was a psychological condition.
THE OTHER GIRL
It was the spring of 1955. Susie Maison was a 13 year old girl who was sick and tired of using a squeeze bulb nebulizer for her asthma. She asked her father why they can’t put her asthma medication in a spray can like they do hairspray.
Her father, George Maison, was the president of Riker Laboratories. He went to work and put two men on the case – Irving Porush and Charlie Thiel. Together they came up with the metered dose inhaler in 1956. Susie Maison had a remarkable z’chus – helping millions of people.
THE BAIS YAAKOV GIRL
We now fast-forward 66 years. The Chazan who is leading the Yom Kippur service in a Long Island Shul is incapacitated with a severe asthma attack. The congregants are in a panic. What should they do? They look for a doctor. The doctor, initially reluctant because he was trained to be somewhat of a germophobe, knows exactly what to do.
He approaches his daughter, a Bais Yaakov girl who travels very far every day to attend a Bais Yaakov in Far Rockaway, New York. He asks her, “Do you have your inhaler with you and would you mind loaning it to the Shliach Tzibbur?”
Without a second thought, she gave her father the inhaler. He, in turn, gave it to the shliach tibbur and with quick-action the attack was gone. She had saved the day, and the Chazan was able to continue his heart-felt tefilos.
Later, the Shliach Tzibbur thanked the young lady and remarked, “All of my tefilos after my attack are in your z’chus.”
The tractate of Yuma refers to the holy day of Yom Kippur. The Tosefta on Yuma (4:12) tells us something fascinating about both of these young ladies. It states: “Megalgelin zchus al yedei zakkai – In the Heavenly realms merit is brought about through those who have merits.”
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