My custom is to write about miracles only after checking them thoroughly from a direct source, i.e. a person involved. After hearing about an incident in the Jewish village of Harasha, I called the main player, Mordechai who permitted me to publicize his first name.
Mordechai and his brother Benaya live with their respective families in Harasha which is perked atop a towering mountain in the Western Shromron, AKA the West Bank. Last Shabbat, Dec. 14, 2013, Israel was in the midst of its most fierce snow storm in recorded history.
This is the story that he told:
Like many homes which were left without electricity, Mordechai warmed his house over Shabbat with a gas heater. Saturday afternoon, he felt dizzy and extremely thirsty. He made his way to a chair and asked his wife for a cup of tea. Entering the kitchen, she, too, felt her head spinning and her knees weakening. She sat down on the kitchen floor.
Seeing his wife go down, Mordechai grabbed his cellular phone and called the Binyamin region “moked” – the emergency response number – for help. Reception was choppy, and he only succeeded in getting across her situation, when the line went dead. The response unit didn’t get his name or location.
At that point, Mordechai lost his focus - "I felt utter confusion," he said. He sat down and gazed at the walls.
Mid event summary of the situation:
- Mother on kitchen floor on the way to passing out
- Husband literally losing his mind and seated on a chair in mental paralysis
- Small kids playing games in another room
- The gas heater burning on high
- The heavy snow left many couples indoors that Shabbat, reluctant to pay ordinary visits to neighbors and friends.
The situation did not bode well for Mordechai’s family.
You cannot see or smell carbon monoxide (CO),
but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes.
Attendance at the Shabbat afternoon “mincha” prayer in the small town's synagogue was low, as could be expected under the circumstances. There were dangerously slippery paths, and people were fatigued from dealing with the power and water outages and the various effects of the storm. Benaya noticed that his brother Mordechai didn’t make it to the prayer minyan.
Benaya would have passed it off, but he knew that his brother was particularly meticulous about attending each and every minyan. In fact, Mordechai was known to never show up even a second late.
Benaya knew something was wrong. Minutes after Mordechai sat down in a deep daze, brother Benaya began knocking on the door -- but no response. Maybe the family was oversleeping? Benaya concluded that that was an impossibility. His brother never ever missed a minyan.
Never ever missed a minyan...
When he was about to force his way in, Mordechai opened the door and pointed to his wife on the floor.
Benaya smelt gas and sensed a lack of oxygen. He quickly dispatched someone to call the town’s security chief who had a functioning walkie talkie, and then evacuated his brother’s family to the neighbors.
The medical team concluded that Mordechai, his wife, and one daughter must be transferred to the hospital for testing. An ambulance could not reach the town, and a helicopter carried out the evacuation. At the end of the day, no one in the family was harmed.
“Knock knock knockin’ on heaven’s door” – sometimes pays off in the most unexpected ways.
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