Rabbi Itzik Kupchik, the Chabad Shliach to La Paz, Bolivia, is accustomed to sacrifices for Shlichus, but circumcising his son, in a city which rises 3,600 metres above sea level, is a feat that needed much preparation, including connecting the newborn to an oxygen tank to be able to breathe.
Being that the summer is “high season” for tourists, Rabbi Kupchik did not feel comfortable leaving town with his wife to Israel for the birth of his newborn child.
Although the third-world health care worried him, he chose to write to the Rebbe to ask what he should do. In a fascinating answer he received in Igros Kodesh, the Rebbe blessed him that the birth should proceed as planned.
His parents, Rabbi & Mrs. Betzalel Kupchik, Chabad Shluchim to Pune, India, decided to join the party, and travelled the long trip to Bolivia, to participate in the celebration of joy and to see their grandchild brought into the covenant of Abraham, in the far-flung locale, which bears some striking similarities to their home country of India.
After a healthy birth, the doctors realized that the newborn is not breathing properly, due to the high altitude of La Paz, Bolivia, considered the “Highest Capital” in the world. The doctors were not worried, stating that the baby will soon get used to the high altitude and breathe properly, but recommended he be connected to an oxygen tank for the first few weeks of his life.
Now finding an oxygen tank for a newborn in Bolivia is not an easy feat, especially on a Friday, while running around planning a Sholom Zochor for the 100 tourists that visit the Chabad House on Friday night.
When the day of the Bris came, the local doctor came to ensure that the baby is healthy, and witnessed the circumcision which was done while the baby was breathing from an oxygen tank.
Now, two weeks later, the baby is breathing on his own, and his parents are busy planning the High Holidays, when hundreds of tourists are expected to visit the Chabad House and participate in the services.