Every event in this world is perfectly orchestrated by a master Conductor.
All too often, the beauty of the music is drowned out by background noise, and we fail to hear it. Occasionally, we are privileged to recognize the individual notes as they blend, creating the sweetest symphony. Shlomo Weissman and Morris Shasho were fortunate enough to hear the music.
Their stories began years ago, on seemingly separate planes. Shlomo was introduced to Renewal during its fledging years a decade ago. He was inspired by early donors and recipients, witnessing the impact of altruistic kidney donation. From then on, he knew – in the recesses of his heart and mind – that he’d donate a kidney one day, as soon as the need arose among his family, friends, or acquaintances. Three years ago, that opportunity appeared: his brother-in-law needed a kidney. Shlomo eagerly volunteered, but the recipient’s brother was a perfect match. Watching the proceedings from his front-row seat, Shlomo’s resolve to donate strengthened.
During the same time period, Morris Shasho watched helplessly as his father’s health declined. He suffered endless rounds of dialysis as the Renewal-assisted hunt for a donor continued futilely. Twice, a donor was found and surgery scheduled. Twice, the donor had second thoughts or complications and surgery was canceled. The family persisted, searching for three years for someone willing to donate to their 80-year-old patriarch.
A third player, meanwhile, was unaware of his contribution to the melody. Ari Bauman, a musician, had advertised his services regularly in a popular publication. He’d never once booked a client as a result of that advertisement. As he prepared to cancel the ad, a single call came in, booking his one-and-only gig through that particular advertising channel. Shlomo Weissman – an old friend of Ari’s – happened to attend that event. When Shlomo caught sight of Ari, he eagerly approached the musician to catch up, inquiring about his health. Ari, who’d undergone a quadruple bypass, informed Shlomo that his heart was in great shape – but his kidneys were failing.
It was the invitation Shlomo had been waiting for since he’d learned about kidney donation. He called Renewal on the spot and began the testing process. Cross-matching showed that Shlomo was an appropriate donor. He enthusiastically began preparing, losing 25 pounds and telling his family about his upcoming surgery. He sent a messenger to R’ Chaim Kanievsky, asking the gadol what intentions to have during the transplant. R’ Chaim enigmatically repeated that Shlomo should learn Torah, an inexplicable suggestion that seemed impossible at the time.
Shlomo’s delight was rudely shattered with a single phone call mere weeks before the surgery. The hospital informed him that Ari’s brother was a better match, so Shlomo was “off the hook.” Devastation set in. While Shlomo was thrilled that Ari would receive the best possible kidney, he was disappointed by the abrupt end of his involvement.
When the day of Ari’s transplant arrived, the truth of R’ Chaim’s prophetic words dawned on Shlomo: he found himself learning Torah as the surgery was performed. And days later, each of the seemingly unconnected stories converged in a resounding crescendo. Shacharit on Shabbat found Shlomo in a shul that he’d recently begun to frequent, a shul in which Morris Shasho prays. After davening, Shlomo recounted the extraordinary story of R’ Chaim’s instructions to the rabbi and a few onlookers.
Morris sat nearby in disbelief, shocked by the unmistakable Divine Intervention: Hashem had clearly sent this man to shul with every detail perfectly coordinated. He approached Shlomo outside of shul, outlining his father’s story and asking him to consider donating his newly available kidney to him.
A year earlier, Shlomo would have dismissed the notion – after all, he wanted to give his kidney to someone he knew, not to an 82-year-old stranger. But the course of events gave him pause: perhaps this was what Hashem truly wanted from him. After a few days of deliberation and consultation with his wife, Shlomo agreed to donate to the elder Mr. Shasho. Because both donor and recipient were already on file with Renewal and had undergone the necessary testing, the transplant was expedited and took place quickly and smoothly.
Shlomo donned the hospital gown with reverence and pride, emotionally informing those present that it was the finest garment he’d ever wear. He recited the bracha of Asher yatzar with gratitude and intent, awed by the enormity of Hashem’s goodness, before walking into the operating room with a serenity unlike anything he’d ever experienced. “Everything happens for a reason, and only when Hashem decides it should happen,” Morris declares. “We searched every corner of the world, but when it was time, Hashem brought Shlomo right to us.” There are no coincidences in this world; there are only flawlessly conducted concertos.
In the words of Mourad Shasho, Recipient
It says in Tehillim: Cast your bread upon the waters and you will find it after many days. In my younger days, I helped my fellow Syrian Jews when we were stuck in the old country. I did everything I could to help better their lives, assisting them with their livelihoods and businesses. I served as vice president of the committee in Aleppo, working hard – together with my colleagues – and risking our lives for our fellow Jews. I traveled between the US and Syria to take care of our community members’ needs while everyone assumed that I was on business trips.
We worked relentlessly trying to free ourselves and our Jewish brethren from Syria. After several years, when it seemed impossible to leave and everyone was on the verge of giving up hope, Hashem showed us His power and compassion. We witnessed, with our own eyes, as our hard work came to fruition. When the time finally arrived for our redemption from Syria, we were able to leave safely with our wives and children. Had we remained in Syria, I cannot imagine that we’d be alive today. My intentions in my life and my efforts to help my fellow Jews were always pure, leshem Shamayim – never for honor or financial benefit. Now, when it was my turn to need help – when I needed a kidney and the doctors had all but given up hope, saying that we’d need a miracle – Hashem showed us, once again, that He and only He runs the world. He brought an angel in human form, Shlomo Weissman, who offered his kidney with the purest of intentions, utterly leshem Shamayim. He was willing to go under the knife for me without promises of benefit or honor, without even knowing my name – just for the sake of helping another Jew. He has become like another son to me. Hashem is all-powerful; His miracles happen every day. We simply need to pay attention.