The Chabad Doctor Who Saved the Mir Yeshiva in Shanghai

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    By Rabbi Yair Hoffman

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    It was a difficult time in the travails of the miraculous escape of the students of the Mir Yeshiva in Poland. With their visas obtained from Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Kovno, they travelled across Russia, to Kobe Japan and then to Shanghai.  But in the height of the war, the money coming in from America had stopped.  The Yeshiva bochurim had nothing to eat – only water to drink and the thinnest of bread.

    And soon they fell victim to a terrible illness that no one could figure out.  They were weak and soon their gums started to bleed from this mysterious illness.  None of the doctors could diagnose it.

    But there was one doctor who did.  It seems to this author that the mysterious disease that plagued the Mir students was scurvy and not Beriberi.

    Scurvy is a diseas that is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C in the diet. Its symptoms include muscle and joint pain, fatigue, bruising easily, swollen and bleeding gums, skin rashes, slow wound healing, anemia, tooth loss, and dry, scaly skin.

    Beriberi, on the other hand, is a condition caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the diet. Its symptoms include muscle weakness, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, weight loss, enlarged heart, shortness of breath, confusion, and memory loss.  But no bleeding gums.

     The Chabad doctor who cured them had instructed them all to drink..

    of all beverages – beer. 

    Beer had the essential dietary ingredient they were all missing – vitamin C.  And as one of my former Rebbeim, Rav Dovid Kviat zatzal, reported – very soon after they started drinking the beer – all of the afflicted Yeshiva bochurim were cured.

    Who was this doctor?  Rav Kviat zatzal had forgotten his name.  Three readers inform me that it was Dr. Avrohom Abba Seligson whose 35th yahrtzeit was this past 25th of Shvat.  He was originally from Cracow and was trusted by Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky zt”l.

    May he be a meilitz yosher for us all. 

    The author can be reached at [email protected]


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    339 Comments
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    Shmulz
    Shmulz
    4 months ago

    The doctor mentioned is not just a chabad doctor, but was considered to be the Rebbe’s Doctor. Countless open miracles took place in his practice.

    Resident
    Resident
    4 months ago

    Some of the comments here are vile. Shame on you. Soldiers are losing LEGS. Their whole life is now changed their future unknown. Girls are getting hurt in Gaza and you cant be mevater and keep your priceless comment to your self?

    Esther in LA
    Esther in LA
    4 months ago

    The Yidden in EY, parents who lost children r’l, people who lost limbs,are begging us to have achdus and Ahabas Yisroel. Remember that!

    Friend of the Zeligson's
    Friend of the Zeligson's
    4 months ago

    Thank you, beautiful article.
    This article is timely not only for Dr Zeligson’s 35th Yahrtzeit but also because 2 days after this Yahrtzeit, his first and only (!) great grandchild was named after him – Avrohom Abba sheyichye.
    This little boy who now carries his great grandfather’s name, also happens to be the great grandson (from his mother’s side) of one of the Shanghai Bochurim!

    Dr Zeligson a”h himself was a Dr “fun der alte heim”, always with a sefer, frum to the extreme and well aware that he was only a shliach of Hashem to heal.

    Yehi Zichro Baruch!

    alex wolf
    alex wolf
    4 months ago

    Yet again, someone says one positive thing about someone who is Chabad and the olam can’t handle it. As always, we are our worst enemies.

    P.S. A simple search in VIN articles will show that when other frumme yidden were identified by their community – litvish, yeshivish, Belz, Bobov, Ger, etc., no one commented anything nasty about those communities or questions why it was relevant. The double standard strikes again.

    emes vshalom
    emes vshalom
    4 months ago

    Thank you Rabbi Hoffman for this informative article. It was indeed Dr. Seligson a”h.
    He was a very devout chossid and pious Jew who treated all Jews with kindness whether his “type” or not.

    It’s astonishing that such hateful reactions are being expressed by some who cannot accept that.

    It appears that although everyone is happy to credit the non-Jew Sugihara with well deserved accolades, it is somehow beneath the haters to acknowledge that the survival of Mir students is due to a Chabad chossid.

    owing one to their benefactor? Nah.. Reminds me of a scumbag by the name of Sinwar…

    Esther in LA
    Esther in LA
    4 months ago

    The Yidden in EY, parents who lost children r’l, people who lost limbs,are begging us to have achdus and Ahavas Yisroel! Remember that!!!

    Bud
    Bud
    4 months ago

    Beer has vitamin C !?!?

    c d
    c d
    4 months ago

    Can they not? And can you not? What are you expecting to accomplish with that, besides creating hatred between Jews (and, as Yaakov rightly pointed out, insulting an enormous Gadol)?

    lazerx
    lazerx
    4 months ago

    Yes drinking beer and bourbon is very healthy, only organic items in them.

    Mike
    Mike
    3 months ago

    It wasn’t beer that he prescribed. It was hops, the basis of beer, which is known worldwide to be extremely nutritious in some ways…

    A.c stern
    A.c stern
    3 months ago

    A message to WWN it is a chutzpah for a news outlet to let this conversation go I don’t care if you hold of chabad or not but this MUST STOP if not I will have to get other people involved

    FYI
    FYI
    4 months ago

    There you go again with your shameful Chabad-Lubavitch blood libel.

    As was posted here previously, what happened was that Lubavitch was going around collecting money on their own, competing with the Vaad that was helping the bochurim (this was in wartime, when funds were scarce). They were warned not to do so, but persisted. Therefore the sensible decision was made, that since Chabad-Lubavitch was doing their own competing fundraising, they had broken away from the joint effort, so they would henceforth be on their own.

    Aron
    Aron
    4 months ago

    Most likely Dr. Anna Seligson

    Yaakov
    Yaakov
    4 months ago

    You are a total jerk and an atheist. Rav Aaron was the acknowledged Godol Hador in America during the fifties except of course for Chabad and you speak of him with contempt. Boy are you asking for it. If you believed in Hashem you would be very afraid.

    Yaakov
    Yaakov
    4 months ago

    Why does the author feel the need to impress on the reader that the doctor was Chabad?

    FYI
    FYI
    4 months ago

    The Mir yeshiva was saved in the zechus of Torah and mitzvos. If some outside doctor played a part in the rescue, it is like other parts that were played by some gentiles in their rescue. Hashem has many messengers.