A number of years ago, Rabbi Hertzel Borochov, a Lubavitcher chasid from Rechovot, in the Central District of Israel, visited an auto body shop near his home to have his car serviced. The owner of the shop was a man by the name of Tziyon Kedoshim, a Sephardic Jew, who was nominally observant. He put on t’filin every day and davened, but not much more than that.
When Rabbi Borochov entered his shop, he casually inquired how the man’s family is doing and suddenly, Mr. and Mrs. Kedoshim became uncomfortable. They looked at one another, eyes filling with tears, and she finally mumbled, “Um, not so good,” under her breath. It took a bit of coaxing, but the rabbi finally got them to talk. Their 15-year-old son has issues: Since he is five, he has not grown an inch. He was quite simply...tiny! At first, the doctors thought that perhaps he was just a late developer, but the years passed and nothing had changed. The doctors took tests and prescribed various treatments and hormones, but the boy remained under four feet tall. Soon he would be 16 and it was driving them all crazy. He was becoming introverted and depressed. He had no friends, no self-confidence, and no hope for the future.
Rabbi Borochov had an idea. He asked them to write a detailed letter about their problem and he would insert the letter into one of the 25 volumes of Igros Kodesh from the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l. (The Rebbe received and answered more mail than almost any man in the world, including the president of the United States.) This is a common practice among Chabad chasidim, and at the exact place where the letter is randomly inserted, that is the message to help alleviate their problem.
The Kedoshims wrote the letter, and that evening when he arrived home, the first thing he did was go the bookcase, randomly pick one of the 25 volumes, pray a short prayer, and insert the letter between two of the pages. Then he opened it to that place and read what was written. It was a detailed explanation of different aspects of the mitzvah of...Bris Milah!
What does Bris Milah have to do with being short? How could circumcision help? The next day, Rabbi Borochov returned to the body shop and gave the Kedoshims the news. They had no idea – as far as they knew, their son had already been circumcised! “By a proper mohel?” the Rabbi asked, grasping for straws. Suddenly, Mrs. Kedoshim began to stammer, “Well...sort of. I’m not really sure.” Her husband interrupted: “Rabbi, what’s the big deal? When our son was born, our friends convinced us that it was primitive to have a rabbi do it. So we had a doctor in the hospital make the circumcision under anesthetic. But what does that have to do with his height? Excuse me, rabbi, thanks for your help; but I think maybe we should forget about it.”
But Rabbi Borochov stood firm. “It probably wouldn’t require any more than a pin-sized cut to make one drop of blood and maybe it might help. It has to be done anyway according to the Torah. It won’t cost money. A lot of older people are doing it.”
After a half hour, they finally agreed. At first, their son was horrified, but after a few weeks, he came around. If it could help him, he might as well try. The rabbi even set up an appointment with Rabbi Yaron Amit, who runs the “Brit Yosef Yitzchak Center” in Jerusalem, a large, modern, medical facility, and the circumcision took place without a hitch.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Borochov became so involved in other things that he completely forgot about the entire incident. It was four years later that he happened to be walking in a shopping mall and heard someone call his name. “Rabbi Borochov!”
He turned around and there was Mr. Kedoshim, with a big smile on his face. “Good to see you, Rabbi!”
“Hello! Mr. Kedoshim, right?” Rabbi Borochov answered. “How are you? How is your wife? Hey! Tell me, whatever happened with your son? Did he have the bris milah?”
“Yes, of course!” Mr. Kedoshim lifted his open hands to heaven and exclaimed, “Baruch Hashem! Rabbi, you won’t believe it. He had the bris milah and, a few months later, our son began to grow. But I mean really grow! Now he is huge! Taller than you, Rabbi! He is in the engineering corps in the Army, a real fighter! We are all religious now, too!”
Rabbi Borochov was invited to their son’s graduation party and he could not believe his eyes: The “boy” was 50 pounds heavier and a full head taller than him! The bris milah actually affected the boy’s physical body and made him grow!