By Rabbi Yair HoffmanJoin our WhatsApp group
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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]