Photo Credit: Sivan Rahav-Meir
Sivan Rahav-Meir

Here are a few words on the power of the spirit of one man, Dr. Rachamim Melamed-Cohen, who passed away last week.

He was stricken with ALS, a disease that causes muscular deterioration and led to his complete paralysis. Only his eyes could still move. But the more his body weakened, the stronger his spirit became. By means of his eyes and a computer, he wrote, painted, and delivered lectures.

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In one of the many interviews he gave, he said the following:

“Every crisis is an impetus for success. People don’t believe me when I tell them in all sincerity that these have been the best years of my life. This disease created a challenge within me to make the most of every moment.

“My talents and my musings, previously hidden, erupted in the form of 18 books, 8 art exhibitions, and 10 songs – all of them created through eye movements on a computer screen.

“True, I miss hugging my relatives, eating and drinking through my mouth, hiking in the mountains, and breathing without a ventilator, and it is especially difficult for me when a fly rests on the end of my nose and I cannot swat it away.

“But in light of the fact that 25 years ago the doctors predicted that I would live only 3-5 years, I am glad to still be alive.

“There are people who are simply not ready to accept such a drastic change, but I believe that a person can work on himself and be happy no matter what. ‘Worship the Lord with joy.’ That’s the goal.

“It often happens that people’s troubles are dwarfed when they compare theirs to mine. And it would certainly be a lie to say that I have no troubles. Especially at the beginning, it was emotionally difficult for me.

“But I decided that I had no time for fear. I learned that we only need to be concerned with one thing – that hope is always greater than fear.”

(translation by Yehoshua Siskin)

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Sivan Rahav-Meir, a ba’alas teshuvah, is one of the most popular media personalities in Israel. She is a Channel 2 News anchor, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal. Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.