David Solomon was what you would call a self-made man. He lived in Manhattan and had built himself up from almost nothing. Now was a multi-millionaire with several factories, had substantial holdings on Wall Street and knew exactly how loud money “talks.”
Of course there was no place in his life for Judaism and no time for anything except business … and family.
The most precious of all his possessions was his 18-year-old daughter, Sarah. Her picture was on his desk and every wall of his office. He dreamed of the day that she would marry and he would see grandchildren. He even had a special fund saved up to buy her a new house and whatever she needed.
He was sitting in his office one day when the phone rang. “Mr. Solomon?” asked an official-sounding voice on the other end of the line.
“Have you got a daughter by the name of Sarah Solomon?”
Again he answered yes.
“This is a police officer speaking from County Hospital. You’d better get down here fast, Mr. Solomon. Your daughter has been in a pretty severe automobile accident.”
Mr. Solomon raced out of the office.
It was a nightmare. She was in critical condition. In a coma. Wires and instruments were attached to every part of her body. The doctors said that it was impossible to operate until her condition stabilized.
Mr. Solomon stood there weeping. What could he do? His wife arrived and she too burst out in tears.
The next few days were almost without sleep. They waited in the hall for some news from the doctors. Perhaps she opened her eyes? Perhaps there would be some improvement?
But the only message of hope he received was his father’s suggestion that he consult with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
“He’s the only one who can help,” his father said. “I have friends who have experienced great miracles with him. If anyone can help you, he can. Just go, get an appointment and get to see him.”
David’s emotions began flipping. At first he was excited; there was hope! But suddenly he was afraid. “I don’t keep any commandments. I don’t even own a yarmulke! How can I go to this Rabbi? I’ll be so ashamed.”
But then his confidence returned. He remembered his money. “I’ll give a big donation and the Rabbi will certainly hear what I have to say.”
David got directions, jumped in his car and drove down to the Rebbe’s headquarters in Brooklyn to arrange a private meeting (called “Yechidut”). There he learned that usually people had to wait for months, but because of the urgency he was given precedence. That evening, many hours later, he was standing before the Rebbe in the Rebbe’s office room.
“Rebbe!” He began to cry. “My daughter had a terrible accident. She is in critical condition. Rebbe, can you save her? Here, here is a check for 50 thousand dollars! For your institutions.”
The Rebbe just looked at him without seeming to notice the check and said, “If you want to save your daughter, you must begin to observe Shabbat.”
Shabbat? You mean not drive or turn on lights and those things on Saturday?
“Rebbe,” David replied, “I can’t promise such a thing. I’m a very busy man and I’m not a religious Jew. Here!” He took out his checkbook put it on the Rebbe’s desk and began writing.
“Here. One hundred thousand dollars! Please, Rebbe, please add this to the first check. Just save my daughter.”
The Rebbe looked at him even more intently and said, “Mr. Solomon, I am here to help you. That money might help my institutions, but if you want to help your daughter, you must keep Shabbat.”
“Rebbe, here!” said Mr. Solomon as he signed his name to another check and placed it before the Rebbe. “It’s an open check. Write what you want. Take what you need, just save her!”
“G-d is responsible for her healing,” the Rebbe replied. “You must appeal to Him. I can help with prayer, but you must also do your part. At least keep Shabbat. Then your daughter will be healthy and you will even see grandchildren from her.”
Mr. Solomon gathered up his checks. He said he would think about it, shook the Rebbe’s hand and left, closing the door after him.
That night he couldn’t sleep. The meeting with the Rebbe had made a deep impression on him. The Rebbe’s face danced before his eyes, saying, “I am here to help you. Keep Shabbat.” It was the first time in his life he met a man that was not interested in his own personal profit.
Meanwhile, Sarah’s condition deteriorated.
“Fine,” he said to his wife. “This Shabbat we won’t drive or turn on any lights. I mean, we’ll be staying in the hospital anyway, so we have nowhere to go. And I think I remember how my father used to make Kiddush; we can at least begin to do what Rabbi Schneerson said.”
That Sunday there was some improvement, and the next Sunday Sarah opened her eyes for the first time in a month.
Mr. Solomon became a “Shomer Shabbat” Jew and his daughter Sarah not only became completely healed, she eventually got married and had several children. Just as the Rebbe said.