Ariel “Arik” Sharon was a famous Israeli statesman, former Prime Minister and retired Major General who served in the Israel Defense Forces for more than 25 years. In mid-December 2005, Prime Minister Sharon spent two days in a hospital after suffering a minor stroke, which doctors said caused no irreparable brain damage.
However, on January 4, 2006, Sharon was rushed to the hospital following another, more serious stroke. Sharon suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, which caused extensive cerebral bleeding. After two surgeries lasting seven and 14 hours, doctors stopped the bleeding in Sharon’s brain, but were unable to prevent him from entering into a coma. Subsequent media reports indicated that Sharon had been diagnosed with cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) during his December hospitalization. Sharon remained hospitalized in a vegetative state from January 2006 until his death on January 11, 2014.
Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz shlita recounts an amazing story that occurred during the time that Arik Sharon was in a coma. He relates that his own mechutan, Rav Amram Blau shlita, an active member of one of the premium Vaad HaKashrus agencies in Jerusalem, fell ill and h,e too, suffered a brain hemorrhage that put him into a vegetative coma. Doctors used life-saving measures to stabilize him, but he hovered between life and death for many months. His family was constantly at his bedside, saying T’hilim and learning as a z’chus for hum, but doctors were not optimistic and had no idea if he would ever regain consciousness, or regain brain function.
But the Almighty tends to His righteous adherents, and one fine day, Rav Amram suddenly opened his eyes and woke from his vegetative stupor. His family laughed and cried, and doctors came running to witness the miracle patient who suddenly woke from a coma, seemingly without rhyme or reason. Extensive tests were performed on the patient, and, after a few short weeks, Rav Amram was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health. He had suffered no long-term effects, and his cognitive skills were as sharp as before he took ill. It truly was a miracle.
One day, Rav Amram received a phone call from Omri and Gilad Sharon, the two sons of Ariel Sharon. A Sharon family member got on the phone and explained that their father, the Prime Minister, is lying in a coma in Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer, for quite a few years already, and the doctors have tried just about every medical procedure to save him. Nothing has worked. The family hired some of the best doctors in the world to see if there’s anything to do – no matter how impossible the odds or how far-fetched the remedy. As of now, there’s no cure in sight.
The family member finally got to the point. Someone had told them about Rav Blau and how he was in a vegetative coma for months, with the same diagnosis as their father. And suddenly, he woke up from the coma and his health had been totally restored. They were requesting a meeting to possibly learn what forms of treatment were done to bring him back from the dead; would he teach them the “secret” formula that had allowed him to beat the odds and regain his health? They were prepared to pay whatever he asks to help them in their quest for the cure. Name your price, they said; we beg you to help us.
Rav Amram smiled inwardly and replied, “I am sorry to hear about your father and the suffering your family is going through. From a medical standpoint, I cannot imagine that more was done for me than for your father. In fact, no doubt, you have done much more to cure your father than was done for me.”
There was a pause at the other end. “So, you’re saying you don’t know? It was a miracle?”
Rav Amram replied, “It was better than a miracle. B’ezras Hashem Yisbarach, I have been blessed with many children and over 100 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All of them are shomrei Torah u’mitzvos. Each and every one of them spent every day of my illness davening to Hashem and performing acts of goodness as a z’chus for my recovery. Their actions and their prayers not only stormed the heavens, but it broke through the heavenly gates! That’s the whole ‘secret’ – that’s the ‘miracle.’ If you can somehow do that, maybe you can invoke Divine mercy and merit a miracle, too!”