When Yaakov finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet onto the bed; he expired and was gathered to his people.”
Rashi: Chazal relates, that the term ‘misah’, death, was not used because Yaakov Avinu did not die.
”HE DID NOT DIE…”
The following story illustrates the simple, staunch faith in the afterlife of a Tzaddik: The ten-passenger taxi was filled to capacity, and as it sped along the highway from Tel-Aviv to Bnei Brak, light conversations from the various passengers floated out into the late night air.
Two passengers in the back seat were discussing the many Gedolim that had recently passed away, when one of them mentioned, “And the Chazon Ish is no longer with us either…”
Hearing this, the passenger seated alongside the driver, a seemingly irreligious man sporting a T-shirt and shorts, with no head covering, exclaimed, “Do you hear what ludicrous things those people are saying? They’re saying that the Chazon Ish is no longer alive! That’s ridiculous”
“Listen,” the driver was quick to respond. “I’ve known those passengers for many years. They’re distinguished people, and you can’t make an accusation like that at them!”
Yet the passenger stood his ground. “I don’t know who those people are, but if they’re saying that the Chazon Ish is no longer alive, they’re speaking utter foolishness!”
At this point all the passengers had tuned into the interesting conversation, and they wanted to hear an explanation for his strange statement. All of them agreed to stop the taxi for as long as it would take for this passenger to relate his story, and thus he began.
“When my oldest daughter had to give birth, I took her to the hospital with my car, and accompanied her inside. I sat in the waiting room and waited for a long time, but no news was forthcoming. Then the doctor came out, saying that some serious difficulties had arisen, and unless they operate immediately, the mother would not make it.
“I stood there bewildered, when a nurse prodded me into action, saying, “Don’t just stand there. Go and present your case to the Chazon Ish. He will surely help you and bless you, and all will be good.
“I had never heard of the name before, yet the nurse was unrelenting. ‘Drive to Bnei Brak, and someone there will direct you already to the house of the Chazon Ish. But hurry up! Time is of essence!’
“I listened to her, and sped to Bnei Brak. Despite the late hour, I easily obtained directions to the Chazon Ish’s house, where I saw that the lights were still burning. The Chazon Ish himself responded to my knock, and I burst into tears, telling him about my daughter’s predicament. He began pacing back and forth, and after several tension-filled moments, he turned to me and said, ‘Mazal Tov! Your daughter had a healthy baby, and all is well!’ And so it was!
Several years later, a similar problem arose with my second daughter. This time I knew where to turn. In a whirlwind of emotions, I sped to Bnei Brak, but when I reached the house of the Chazon Ish, all was dark and still. Then a neighbor told me that the Chazon Ish had passed away. ‘What are you saying?’ I yelled, unable to accept what I had heard. I had to save my daughter! I inquired where the burial site was, and hurried to the cemetery. Jumping over the locked gate, I ran to the Chazon Ish’s tombstone and cried, “Rebbe, you saved my eldest daughter… Now save my second daughter!”
“When I returned to the hospital I was greeted with the miraculous news. My daughter had given birth to a healthy baby, and all was well.
“Now I’m asking you,” the passenger turned to his audience, “Can anyone say that the Chazon Ish is no longer alive?”