Dr. Ira Weiss of Chicago, a renowned heart specialist, became very close to the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, when he was called upon to be part of a dedicated team to care for the Rebbe after the Rebbe had a major heart attack in 1978*.In 1981, the Rebbetzin was not feeling well, and Dr. Weiss was called.
He suspected that she had an infection in a valve of her heart and decided to fly to New York to see her right away. That weekend was his high school reunion which he had planned on attending. But sensing the importance of the Rebbetzin’s condition, decided to miss the reunion.
When he notified the Rebbe that he would be coming, the Rebbe encouraged him to attend the reunion and delay his trip to New York until after Shabbat. However, Dr. Weiss felt that as a doctor he should see the Rebbetzin immediately and flew into New York.
When he arrived, the Rebbe greeted him warmly. Dr. Weiss was glad that he could take care of the Rebbetzin’s condition and arranged a full schedule of treatment by Dr. Robert Feldman, of blessed memory, the local beloved physician for the community and also the Rebbetzin’s personal physician.
The Rebbe thanked Dr. Weiss, and then said, “But now you missed your high school reunion.”
“That’s all right,” Dr. Weiss replied. “There will be another one in ten years. G-d willing, I will make it then.”
“Did your classmates publish a book for the reunion?” the Rebbe asked.
“Yes,” Dr. Weiss answered. “Each student wrote up a full page about their lives. One hundred and fifty students in all.”
“Do you know all those students?” the Rebbe asked.
“About half of them, I suppose,” Dr. Weiss answered. “I will probably read their entries.”
“You should read all 150 of them carefully and in detail,” the Rebbe advised.
This comment surprised Dr. Weiss. But when he returned home, he made sure to read them all.
One of the entries was by a former classmate named Doreen. Dr. Weiss only had a vague memory of who she was. She wrote that her husband had suffered from an acute kidney disease and had been one of the first people to successfully have a kidney transplant at the University of Minnesota.
This was astonishing, because Dr. Weiss had a neighbor in Chicago who was also suffering from kidney problems and the standard treatment of dialysis was not helping him.
Dr. Weiss decided to reach out to Doreen and put her in touch with his neighbor to share her knowledge and experience.
The two families became close friends and soon Dr. Weiss’ neighbor was also able to receive a successful kidney transplant at the same hospital and went on to enjoy more than forty years of good health!
Dr. Weiss realized that this would never have happened if he had not read Doreen’s story.
Dr. Weiss now understood what the Rebbe had intended.
“So, this is why the Rebbe wanted me to read all the 150 stories,” he said gratefully.
As seen in The Moshiach Times for Shevat 5782 Pg. 16
*On Shemini Atzeret, 1977, after the Rebbe suffered a massive heart attack, Dr. Ira Weiss flew in from Chicago to join the medical team treating the Rebbe. Subsequently, he became the Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s cardiologist. To hear Dr. Weiss tell about his special connection with the Rebbetzin and his great admiration for her, please see: Dr. Ira Weiss: The Rebbe and Rebbetzin’s Cardiologist available at Jewish Educational Media – JEM.