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Kupat Ha'ir – The Tzedakah of the Gedolei Hador Kupat Ha'ir is the largest volunteer based charity fund supported by Jews worldwide. Kupat Ha'ir is the lifeline for thousands of needy. With offices in Israel, the U.S., Canada and throughout Europe.
Main  >  I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation  >  I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation

I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation

A Tale of Two Vaccines

Bracha* was about to leave to the baby clinic with her baby. She knew what was on the agenda: an immunization shot. Necessary but decidedly unpleasant. Her heart beat a little bit faster than usual. The injection itself was far from pleasant, and the reaction was often far worse. She just wanted to put it behind her and forget the whole thing.
״Don׳t you think he looks a little pale?״ her husband asked, placing a hand on his son׳s forehead.
״Pale?״ Bracha echoed. ״No, I don׳t think so. I think you׳re a bit worried, too, seeing things that don׳t exist. He׳s fine; he feels great. No excuses!״ She left the house.

When she returned, the baby definitely looked peaked. A few hours later, he developed a familiar childhood disease. Now Bracha׳s mild concern became more pronounced. Everyone knows you׳re not supposed to vaccinate a sick child.
Bracha sat at her feverish baby׳s bedside, willing him to get well. One day passed and then another. Four days passed and the fever still wasn׳t down. She gave her baby acetaminophen every four hours, interspersed by occasional doses of ibuprofen. She gave him tepid baths. Nothing helped. The child burned with fever. A full week passed and the mercury was still climbing to the top of the thermometer. A week and a half. The child was miserable and his parents were exhausted. Bracha, bleary-eyed, was filled with remorse.
״A vaccination for a sick baby,״ sighed the doctor, an experienced, elderly man. ״It׳s to be expected. This particular vaccine is not easy even for healthy children. Let׳s wait another two days. If the fever isn׳t down by then, we׳ll have to take some unpleasant steps.״
״L-like what?״ Bracha felt fear surge up inside her, threatening to overwhelm her.
The doctor preferred not to reply. ״Let׳s hope the fever will go down and we won׳t have to do anything.״
Bracha went home, fear and worry painting nightmarish scenes in her mind.
״You know what?״ her husband said, equally concerned. ״Let׳s contribute to Kupat Ha׳ir. Maybe Hashem will take pity and the fever will go down.״
The fever went down. Immediately, that same day. The doctor was pleased. Two full weeks of fever concluded with a happy, bubbly child, albeit a bit weak.
״What a pity we didn׳t contribute earlier,״ Bracha said with a sigh. ״Why did the child have to suffer? What a shame.״
A year passed.

Bracha was about to leave to the baby clinic again, this time with a younger baby.
״Tell me if he looks okay to you,״ she said to her husband for the umpteenth time. ״I׳m so afraid. I׳m still traumatized by what happened last year.״
״Which vaccine is he getting today?״
״He׳s supposed to get two. One for hepatitis – that one usually doesn׳t cause a reaction. Sometimes there are symptoms between the third and fifth day after the shot, they tend to be mild. The second vaccine is the MMR, the same awful one from last year. Symptoms are quite common; they show up somewhere between five and twelve days after the vaccine.״ She didn׳t bother explaining what the symptoms were; she knew that he knew. It wasn׳t easy to forget those two weeks they׳d gone through with their older child.
״So let׳s contribute to Kupat Ha׳ir again,״ her husband suggested. ״We׳ll contribute and daven that the vaccine should pass smoothly, without any symptoms. Why wait for the fever to start and send us running to the doctor?״
She loved the idea. She placed a few coins in the pushka and davened that the vaccine blow over smoothly.
״Does he look perfectly healthy to you?״ she asked the nurse for the third time. ״You know, my older child was sick when he got this vaccine and we went through a nightmarish two weeks.״
״He looks fine to me,״ the nurse smiled. She was familiar with scaredy-cat moms. She prepared both vaccines and administered them expertly. The baby cried a bit, but that was all.
״Do you remember the instructions?״ the nurse asked, reluctant to rely on the mother׳s memory from the previous year. ״The first vaccine will probably pass without any symptoms but be on the lookout two days from now to make sure everything׳s okay. The second vaccine can cause fever – even high fever. Make sure to –״
Bracha wasn׳t really listening. She׳d contributed to Kupat Ha׳ir, after all. She׳d be spared the nightmare this time.
Two days passed. The third day dawned with inconsolable crying and high fever. Bracha realized that the baby was suffering from the side effects of the first vaccine. If this is how he׳s reacting to the ״easy״ vaccine, what׳s going to happen when he reacts to the MMR – clearly the tougher of the two vaccines? Her heart plummeted.
Two days passed and the fever went down. 

One down, she thought with a modicum of relief, bracing herself for what was still to come. This time, we didn׳t merit having our contribution prevent a reaction… what can you do? Not always does everyone merit a yeshuah. You׳ve got to daven and purify your heart; the contribution is just one part of a whole. Maybe I placed too much trust in it.
She shared her thoughts with her husband, who listened attentively.
״You know,״ he said after a moment׳s thought, ״the truth is that we didn׳t contribute for the easy vaccine at all. We thought the hepatitis vaccine was “nothing”. We definitely had the MMR in mind when we contributed.״
״Okay, then, let׳s wait and see,״ she replied hopefully. Would the merit of their contribution to Kupat Ha׳ir alleviate the symptoms of the tough vaccine?
She waited a day, two days, a full week. It was as if her son had never received the MMR shot.
״That׳s strange,״ the pediatrician commented. ״Kids who are so sensitive that they react to the hepatitis vaccine usually react even more strongly to the MMR. This kid goes against the rules!״
״A contribution to Kupat Ha׳ir changes the way things normally work,״ she replied. ״It׳s incredible but true. There׳s no other possible explanation.״
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