When Rav Yeshayahu Heber was 42, a busy husband and father working at two jobs, his kidneys failed and he was forced to begin dialysis, a physically and emotionally exhausting ordeal requiring 4-5 hours at a clinic three times a week attached to a dialysis machine.
The one bright spot in R’ Heber’s new routine was the close friendship he developed with another dialysis patient, Pinchas Turgeman, 22 . R’ Heber and the younger Turgeman passed the hours in the dialysis clinic in pleasant conversation.
R’ Heber was lucky enough to soon find a compatible kidney donor. His friend Turgeman, who also urgently needed a kidney transplant, jokingly said to him “What about me?” although he knew it was probably too late for him since he was very ill at the time.
But R’ Heber took his comment to heart and began searching for a compatible donor for Turgeman and soon succeeded. But unfortunately, it was too late and Turgeman died two weeks before the transplant was to take place.
Rav Heber was devastated and the day after Turgeman’s levaya – in 2009 – he founded the Matnat Chaim organization a non-profit dedicated to the facilitation of altruistic kidney donations, quitting his job as a principal of a school and teacher, and devoting his life to the organization.
Since then, hundreds of lives have been saved through Matnat Chaim and Rav Heber’s selfless work has been widely recognized in Israel and abroad.
This past February, Blue and White MK Chili Tropper, whose name has appeared in recent headlines due to his being one of the right-wing Blue and White members opposed to the merger with Arab Joint List, was the 780th person to donate one of his kidneys through the Matnas Chaim organization, in his case to a perfect stranger. He was the first Knesset member in Israel to donate a kidney.
And now Rav Heber, who has given hope and saved the lives of almost a thousand Jews and enabled the same number of Jews to fulfill an incredible act of chessed is in need of Klal Yisrael’s tefillos.
Rav Heber contracted the coronavirus and is hospitalized in serious condition in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital and is in need of great rachamei Shayamayim.
Please daven for the refuah sheleimah of Rav Avraham Yeshayahu ben Hadassah b’toch sha’ar cholei Yisrael.