Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Angel Daniel

Aryeh Ehrlich

While the Torah world united in prayer for Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlita, two men were flying to Eretz Yisrael on a mission to save the gadol’s life: Dr. Daniel Clair, head of the vascular surgery department at the Cleveland Clinic, and Mr. Zalman Silber, a medical askan and philanthropist from Monsey, New York. In an exclusive interview with Mishpacha just hours after the successful surgery, the two friends shared the story of how they joined together to save Rav Elyashiv’s life — for the second time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

They made an incongruous pair if ever there was one. There, in the first class cabin of an El Al jetliner that had departed from Newark International Airport, sat a distinguished looking Catholic with a shaven head together with a bearded Orthodox Jew in full chassidic regalia. Huddled together, they drew plans on paper, discarded them, and drew new ones. As most of the passengers drifted off into monotony-induced slumber, these two men continued to confer about their mission, to be executed shortly after landing in Eretz Yisrael: saving the life of the posek hador, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv shlita.

The two men leaning over the intricate drawings were Dr. Daniel Clair, who holds the vascular surgery department chair at the Cleveland Clinic — ranked as the #1 hospital for heart surgery by U.S. News and World Report — and Reb Zalman Leib Silber, a businessman and medical askan from Monsey, New York. This was the doctor’s second visit to the Holy Land; his first trip, seven and a half years ago, was to operate on Rav Elyashiv’s aorta.

The duo knew that as soon as they would land, they would be whisked off to Jerusalem, where Dr. Clair would perform the surgery in Shaare Zedek Hospital after a scant few hours of rest, which gave added urgency to their planning session. As the flight neared Ben-Gurion Airport, a medical protocol, covering every eventuality, was finalized.

“Arrange the best possible accommodations for him — both on the flight to Israel in the course of his stay here, and for his return to Cleveland,” Rav Aharon Leib Steinman shlita instructed his Israeli askanim. “He is the emissary of all of us, the emissary of Klal Yisrael. We have a responsibility to see to it that he feels comfortable and returns home with pleasant memories.”


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you