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Rabbi Meir Chai HY"D: A story that must be told

By David Wilder
12/31/2009, 12:00 AM

A few days ago one of my sons visited the Chai family in Shavei Shomron. He lived in that community for a number of years and knowing the family wanted to pay a condolence call. At their home he heard the following story, which he later related to me. I've also seen it in print, and it's true.

Twelve years ago a man was involved in a very serious automobile accident, and was determined by the doctors to be clinically dead. However, miracle of miracles, somehow they managed to prevent his death. He eventually woke up, and following a lengthy hospitalization, fully recovered and was sent home.

After his recovery, this man told his family the following: In fact, I was dead, and was sent to the next world. There, I cried before the holy court, telling them that my wife had just given birth to a son, and how could I leave them now, my wife a widow and my son an orphan. I told them that I wanted to learn Torah with my new son.
After a while they came back and notified me that my request was accepted. I would be able to return to this world, for twelve years.

That man was Rabbi Meir Chai. Last week, today, he was killed, exactly twelve years to the day of the auto accident, over a decade ago. He was on his way home to the birthday party for the son born to him 12 years before.

Rabbi Chai's father-in-law was in Uman, at the Tomb of Rabbi Nachman from Breslov when the murder occurred. Speaking at the funeral, he told that he'd gone to Uman to try to have the decree annulled, but that he hadn't succeeded. His son-in-law, Rabbi Meir Chai, returned to 'the next world' exactly as he'd been told he would, twelve years earlier.