When An El Al Flight Diverted To Halifax For A Medical Emergency, A Bochur Steps Up To Save The Day

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El Al flight 26, operated by one of El Al’s aging Boeing 777s, took off from Newark on September 18th at about 9:30pm.

Chabad Houses around the world that evening were farbrenging and celebrating the 18th of Elul, the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chasidic movement, and the birthday of the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad Chassidus. The Chabad Lubavitch movement is one based on Ahavas Yisroel, love of your fellow Jew just as yourself, no matter who they are.

As the plane flew over Newfoundland, a woman from Jerusalem’s Meah Shearim neighborhood had a medical emergency and doctors onboard advised that El Al should get her to a hospital ASAP.

El Al turned the plane back to Halifax, the nearest major city, and landed there at about 1am local time.

El Al Flight 26 Flight Path, via FlightRadar24

Passengers immediately contacted the Feldmans, who run Chabad of Halifax, to let them know that there was a passenger that would be heading to a hospital and in need of kosher food. The Feldmans have moved away from their family and friends a quarter century ago to open the remote outpost of Chabad of the Maritimes and now operate a shul, school, camp, and educational programs for the local community. Rebbetzin Feldman related to me that it’s their pleasure to help out anyone in need and they prepared warm meals for their late night visitors.

When they landed though, the woman didn’t want to get off. She had flown by herself to New York for the shiva of her niece. She spoke no English. How would she understand what was going on with her? Would she be operated on without consent or knowing what was wrong? How would she pay for the medical care? She wanted to fly onto Israel, but El Al refused to continue with her onboard.

Passengers started emptying their wallets to pay for her medical bills and potential flight expenses and passing it forward. Nearly $3,000 was handed over to the woman in a matter of minutes.

A Lubavitcher bochur from NYC, who wishes to remain anonymous, was onboard and watched as the situation unfolded. He spoke English and Hebrew and offered to stay with her and help her in Halifax. The Doctor onboard was amazed at his offer and told him that she was going to be OK and there was no need to accompany her to the hospital.

The bochur thought to himself, what would he do if it was his own mother in this situation? How could he leave her in tears like this, in an unfamiliar place where people didn’t speak her language, to go alone to the hospital?

The bochur’s seatmate insisted on handing him a $100 bill to help defray his own personal expenses.

El Al told the bochur that he could be forfeiting his ticket if he got off the plane. They also said they would not be able to get him his luggage. But he left the plane and accompanied the woman to the hospital.

The flight left Halifax at about 4:20am, some 2 passengers lighter, and made it to Israel at about 9pm local time.

The woman was cleared to leave the hospital by noon the next day and wound up buying her own flight to Montreal, where she has relatives. She also purchased her own ticket to get back to Israel on another airline.

While El Al never did check back in with the passengers, Rebbetzin Feldman called an El Al contact in Canada that had reached out to her previously when El Al flights had been diverted to Halifax. Rebbetzin Feldman explained that they had a hero in this case and asked if they would get the bochur back to Israel. By the time that El Al agreed to fly him to Israel, it was too late to catch a flight there before Shabbos, so he was rebooked to fly to Israel via Toronto on Sunday and stayed in Halifax for Shabbos with the Feldmans.

Without any clean clothes, Rebbetzin Feldman tells me that the bochur is out doing some shopping before Shabbos. I joked that it would certainly be easier for him than it was for me when I spent an unexpected Shabbos in Tokyo, where finding clothes bigger than a US size medium was an impossible task.

The bochur himself is surprised that the story has gone viral on social media. But perhaps only someone with true Ahavas Yisroel would be surprised that not everyone will walk off of an international flight to help a stranger. It has been some 222 years since the Alter Rebbe wrote about Ahavas Yisroel in Tanya. And it may be a quarter century since the Lubavitcher Rebbe passed away, but his legacy of true Ahavas Yisroel certainly lives on.

Be like this bochur, the Feldmans, and everyone else on the plane that helped out a complete stranger. Step up and do a random act of kindness and make someone else’s day. 🙂


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41 Comments On "When An El Al Flight Diverted To Halifax For A Medical Emergency, A Bochur Steps Up To Save The Day"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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Go fund me?

Any way to donate?

Yossi

How ironic that the “Jewish” airline shows less Ahavas Yisroel than the non jewish airlines.

Jack out of the Box

Being born Jewish does not give you good middos. You need to live a Torah life.

Zali

Read the end of the first Perek of Tanya for a better understanding of this subject.
Not so simple.

Eli

Exactly!

Mark

Very nice!!!! Big kiddush haShem.

Shabbat Shalom to all.

Lester

I love Chabad and we should all support them

Sara

Wow no words!!

Marcus

Why is El Al so freaking stingy?! This was a perfect opportunity for them to do some good and get some goid press, but they blew it! They deserve whatever bad PR they get!

Mimi k

Why should they chip in a nickel? The boy and the woman are charedim.
Charedim fly El Al even when they are treated with less respect than the luggage on any other Airline.
I have a relative who paid a few hundred dollars more, because it’s El Al.

Avi

I would pay a few hundred more to AVOID El Al (though it never happens because they are usually the most expensive option)

Cholentfresser

This post is a farbrengin. Love it!

Uri

While this is a heart-warming story, and the Feldmans are amazing people, one cannot help but wonder why the good people in Meah Shearim still object to the teaching of English in their schools. The situation in which a woman coming from Israel is totally unable to communicate in English is not “Maka midey shamaim”

Zali

Chinuch Al Taharas Hakodesh!
Read up about it.

Ahroni

Yeah, yeah.

Anonn

Maybe she only finished French and Spanish, and didn’t get to English yet.

Steven

Like

Michael

It’s not a matter of objecting, there’s just no reason for them, as Israelis, to learn English, the same way most Americans don’t know any foreign languages. The fact that this woman has relatives abroad doesn’t necessitate her learning English. She managed just fine to get to America and (almost) back without knowing English.

SaraS

I live abroad and speak the local language very well. But when it comes to understanding medical terms, forget it! It is so scary and difficult to navigate the medical jargon in general. Your high school level of English education certainly won’t help you in an emergency situation when it isn’t your mother tongue!

Yanki

What happened to his luggage?
El Al returned it to him?

Sam

Beautiful story, thanks for sharing!

ShmuliT

Yasherkoach Dan for posting this story.
A big kidush hashem and kidush lubavitch.

Steven

Source for this story?

Abraham

My brother was there. and I also heard in Shull from someone who was onboard

Miriam Kairey

Wow

David Shammai Sabghir

At the Chai Elul Fabrengen on Thursday night, Rabbi Leibel Groner, the Rebbe’s Secretary told this story to illustrate the Rebbe’s Ahavas Yisroel. The Rebbe was called regarding a woman who had fallen and disfigured her face. The Doctors advised that she would need four operations. The Rebbe dismissed their claim and told his Secretaries that he would go to the Ohel the next day. He would fast (food, not drink) before he went to the Ohel and proceeded to the Ohel. When he returned, the Secretary contacted the family and were told that now the Doctor advised that only three operations would be required. The Rebbe advised his Secretaries that he would go back to the Ohel the next day. He fasted, etc. and when he returned, the family was again contacted and said that the Doctor now advised that only two operations would be needed. The Rebbe again advised his Secretaries that he would be going to the Ohel the next day and again fasted and went to the Ohel. When he returned they called the Family and were advised that the Doctor now said that only one operation was needed. The Rebbe again advised his Secretaries that he would go to the Ohel the next day and so, the Rebbe fasted the next day, that would be the fourth day in a row and proceeded to the Ohel. When he returned, they contacted the family and were told that the Doctor now said that no operations were needed!
Rabbi Groner than concluded by saying that his consecutive four fasts and many hours spent at the Ohel over four days, was an example of the Rebbe’s Ahavas Yisroel for a single Jew who needed his help in avoiding operations!

Flying Jew

Dan start a fund that you administer for cases like this….expense should not fall on the shluchim.

Put me down for the first $180

Ari

Dan, has El AL contacted you give “their” side of the story? This kind of story makes them look rediculously blind to a great PR story

Yehuda

Two Doctors on the flight explained to the kid it was not wise to leave the plain as he would be a burden on others since there was nothing he could do for the woman who wouldn’t even talk to him due to her religion.
The woman left a hospital in NYC against doctors advise to get surgery in Israel, she endangers her life and put herself a and others in a difficult position.
And why? Because she knew better than the doctors? There is no need for anyone of the good passengers who collected close to 3000 usd to pay her medical bills or her new ticket if she just would have listened to the doctors and not be so stubborn and a mrs know it all…

huh?

Sounds like you voted for Avigdor Leiberman

Anonymous18

I agree 100%. Like for this Holy Bochur’s clothes, expenses etc… And any other expense that was incurred from Chabad etc…

I will be happy to contribute $180 as well.

And anytime something like this happens. They should be contacted to find out the Expenses and the money sent immediately so all Klal Yisrael can help in such a worthy and caring cause!

Maybe setup a PayPal/bank account for this so money can be sent Everytime directly from this account.

And Maybe Dan can advertise on this site to donate to this holy cause every time it’s a Chabad Fabrengen day. As was Chai Elul when this beautiful story of Ahavas Yisrael took place.

Mi Kiamcha Yisrael!

Sara

Sounds like a great time to start the DansDeals Foundation.

Beirish

I hope the lady has a refuah shilaima.
The Bachur made a tremendous Kiddush Hashem. What a selfless individual. He should be gebentched with a shana tova umisuka. He should be zoche to arichas yomim vishanim.

daniel

a 12-year old 777 is hardly “aging”

dhammer53

Thanks Dan for the heart warming story. L’Shannah Tovah to you and your readers.

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