THE REVIVAL OF THE DEAD IN OUR DAYS – Rav Chaim Dovid Stern’s Near Death Experience
Around Purim time 2015, the Kabbalist Rav Chaim Dovid Stern collapsed during a visit to the USA, having suffered a serious heart-attack. One of the students who was travelling with Rav Stern happened to be a first responder for Magen Dovid Adom, and he immediately started to administer some CPR to the Rav. For 40 minutes, this student fought for the Rav’s life, even though Rav Stern had stopped breathing, and no longer had a pulse.
Eventually, his pulse returned and the Rav was taken to the intensive care ward of the ‘Maimonides’ Medical Centre, in New York. When he was admitted, the hospital staff considered his situation to be somewhere between critical, and non-recoverable. The doctors didn’t really hold out any hope that the Rav could recover, and the word went out to his students and followers around the world to start urgently praying for Rav Stern’s welfare and recovery.
On the advice of the Gadol Rav Shmuel Wosner, Rav Stern was also given the additional name ‘Alter’, and an information hotline was set up, to inform the public about the Rav’s condition, and to enable people to sign up to participate in round-the-clock prayers for the Rav’s recovery. Yet despite all these efforts, Rav Stern’s condition only continued to deteriorate.
Even after he was admitted to hospital, he suffered a further two heart attacks, and a little while later it was discovered that both of his lungs had also completely collapsed, which meant he was now 100% dependent on the life-support to even be able to breathe. If that wasn’t bad enough, on the following day his kidneys also collapsed, and the attending physician told the Rav’s son to call the other children to come to the hospital, so they could be there when their father passed away.
This son of Rav Stern knew how much his father respected Rav Berland, who he’d known for more than 45 years’, ever since Rav Berland had been the Steipler Gaon’s chevruta (Torah partner) back in Bnei Brak, and who he was still regularly in touch with. He decided to contact Rav Berland, who was then in Holland, by phone from America, and told him the whole situation. Rav Berland told Rav Stern’s son to urgently send him a specific amount of money for a pidyon Nefesh (redemption of the soul, where the money removes the harsh spiritual judgments causing the person’s illness), and that if he did that, his father would live.
So without thinking twice, as soon as he got off the phone with Rav Berland, Rav Stern’s son called up the bank to arrange a transfer of funds. 10 minutes later, an enormous miracle happened, and Rav Stern woke up. Even more miraculously, Rav Stern then proceeded to shock the doctors at the Maimonides Centre by very quickly regaining his health and equilibrium.
A little while later, Rav Stern was healthy enough to fly back to Israel, to his home in Bnei Brak, and he marked the occasion by holding a gathering where he could properly express his gratitude to Hashem for the enormous miracles that had occurred. This gathering was the first time that Rav Stern publicly explained what had happened to him, and revealed how many open miracles had taken place.
One of Rav Stern’s sons spoke at the gathering, and he said the following: “Anyone who wants to know and understand what the subject of techiat hametim, or the revival of the dead, is all about, only needs to see what Hashem, in His tremendous mercy and kindness, did in front of our eyes [referring to his father’s miraculous return from the dead]. Even the doctors admitted wholeheartedly that what had happened here was nothing less than the revival of the dead.”
It was also explained at the gathering how during the time when Rav Stern was clinically dead, his soul had been in Shemayim, and that he’d been in the Heavenly Court being judged [as occurs to all souls, when they die]. Suddenly, the proceedings were interrupted by a bat kol, a heavenly voice, that was heard throughout all the spiritual worlds saying that Rav Stern had to be returned to life.
At the gathering, they also read a letter from the senior doctor at the Maimonides Centre who’d been responsible for arranging the medical aspects of Rav Stern’s flight home, who said the following: “I’m here to set down in writing the size and the magnitude of the miracle that we witnessed with our own eyes. What occurred here was truly a case of the revival of the dead. The Rav suffered a heart-attack, and spent 40 minutes without breathing and without a pulse. In the emergency room, he suffered another heart-attack and had to be resuscitated again. The first three days he was in the hospital, he really wasn’t ‘there’ at all, physically.
“According to the attending physicians, his chances of coming back to life and regaining consciousness, and especially of regaining his mental faculties, were zero. But it appears that God healed [the Rav] by Himself. Even in our generation, I have had the merit of seeing miracles as big as those done at the time of the Exodus from Egypt.” The letter was signed by Dr Kerstein, the head of the intensive care unit in the Maimonides Hospital, New York.