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Dr. Mitzvah in "A Light for Andy"

November 26, 2009 | by Yaffa Ganz

Join Dr. Mitzvah as he builds a Chanukah menorah!

It was over a week since anyone had seen Dr. Mitzva. His patients were looking for him. His mail was piling up and his phone did not stop ringing. All Mrs. Goldengreen would say was that the Doctor was busy and could not be disturbed.

"I wonder where he is or what he's doing," said Sarah. "It's not like Dr. Mitzva to go into hiding!"

"He's not hiding," answered Joey. "He's probably doing something important."

Joey Singer said he saw Dr. Mitzva going into the Masterfeld Mansion outside Cedarville.

"What can he be doing there?" asked Seffy. "The Masterfelds have their own doctors. They never call Dr. Mitzva."

"Let's wait here for him. He has to come home sooner or later," said David.

Andrew Masterfeld should have been in class with Seffy and Sarah and Joel and David. But Andy was blind and he studied at home. He had private teachers, special tutors, his own pony and a private gymnasium. And now he had a new problem. Mr. Masterfeld called Dr. Mitzva.

"I passed your office the other day and saw your sign. It says you are a Doctor of Mostly Everything. I don't think that you can cure my boy's eyes, but perhaps you could help us. You see, Andy learned that it is a mitzva to see the light of the Chanuka candles. He insists that he is going to see them. He doesn't want Chanuka presents, he doesn't want parties. All he wants is to see the Chanuka lights. He says he will have his own private Chanuka miracle.

"He's a good boy, Dr. Mitzva, but so stubborn! He won't listen to anyone. Is there some way you can help him? Perhaps you can explain to him that the lights aren't so important. We can celebrate the holiday without the lights. He will be so disappointed. Can you help us?"

Dr. Mitzva listened carefully. "But the lights are important," he said. "Without the lights there is no Chanuka! Let me think a bit."

That very same day Dr. Mitzva went to work. He bought pipes and screws and bolts. He bought gold paint and brushes and metal valves. He locked himself up in his workshop and didn't answer the phone or visit his patients unless it was an emergency.

The day before Chanuka he went to the Masterfeld Mansion carrying a heavy package. When he returned, he saw Joey, David, Seffy and Sarah sitting on the bench in his yard.

"How wonderful!" he cried. "You are just the people I need! Can you help me carry some packages to the Masterfeld Mansion? I couldn't find a taxi and they are too heavy for me to take all at once."

"I'll call my father and ask if he can drive us there," said Seffy. "I'm sure he won't mind."

Seffy's father soon pulled up in front of Dr. Mitzva's house and eight heavy packages were loaded into the big trunk of his car. Dr. Mitzva sat in the front and the children piled into the back. At the Masterfeld Mansion servants came out to take the packages into the house.

"Can we come in too?" asked Sarah.

"Well now, do you usually come to visit Andy?" asked Dr. Mitzva.

The children were very quiet.

"Not usually," said Sarah softly.

"It would be nice if you did, you know," answered Dr. Mitzva. "He would definitely appreciate some company. Well, come on in and maybe it will be the beginning of many more visits!"

The children said hello to Andy and sat down to watch as Dr. Mitzva opened the packages. They were full of long gold-colored tubes with lots of smaller parts, all waiting to be assembled. There were forty-one pieces in all.

"Wow!" said Seffy. "What are you going to do with all these tubes?"

"I know," cried Sally. "He's going to build a Chanuka Menorah!"

"That's absolutely correct, Sally!" said a smiling Dr. Mitzva.

"I can't wait to see it," said Andy. He was smiling too.

The children looked at each other. They didn't say anything at all.

"Let's get to work," said Dr. Mitzva.

He took out a big drawing and they began to put the pieces together. It was like building a big three-dimensional puzzle. When they were finished, all forty-one pieces were tightly connected. The Menorah stood three feet high and four feet wide. Andy felt it carefully from one end to the other.

"That's a pretty big menorah," he said. A little smile curved around his lips.

"Yes indeed. That's because Chanuka is the story of a pretty big miracle," said Dr. Mitzva. "When the Hellenistic Greek-Syrians captured the Land of Israel, most people thought the Jews had to become just like the Greeks. They were sure that whatever the Greeks did was good and right, and following the Torah of the Jews was wrong and bad. After all, the mighty Greeks were the most civilized people in the world!

"Many of the Jews agreed, but many others, like the Maccabim, refused to follow the Greeks. They were a stubborn people who stayed loyal to God and His Torah. They refused to turn into Greeks. They even fought the mighty Greek-Syrian armies. God helped them in their battles and they were able to chase the Greeks out of Jerusalem. Then a miracle happened. The oil they found to relight the Menorah in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was enough for only one day, but it burned for eight entire days until new oil could be pressed and brought to Jerusalem. So you see, sometimes it pays to be stubborn."

"Like me," said Andy with a big smile.

"Like you and the Jewish People!" said Joey.

"But how will Andy see the lights?" whispered Sally to Dr. Mitzva.

"Wait until Chanuka and you'll find out," whispered Dr. Mitzva.

On the last evening of Chanuka, the children were invited to a big Chanuka gathering at the Masterfeld Mansion. The Menorah stood in the middle of the room on a low table. Mr. Masterfeld lit eight thick, tall candles – just the right size for such a big menorah. He said the blessings and everyone answered Amen.

Suddenly, Andy stepped forward, his arms stretched out before him. He walked up to the Menorah and held his hands to the light. The warmth of the candles reached his face and the light shone in his eyes that could not see.

"You know," he said, "I feel as though I really can see the Chanuka lights. I can feel them on my face and imagine them in my mind. I even hear them flickering. They flicker, but they will never go out. Maybe someday I'll even see them with my eyes, like you do.

"If we're stubborn and we believe, no matter what anyone says, God helps us. He turns darkness into light and makes miracles happen, even today!"

"Amen," whispered Dr. Mitzva.


From THE TRAVELS AND TALES OF DR. EMANUEL J. MITZVA, 12 wonderful Dr. Mitzva stories by Yaffa Ganz, complete with bright, charming, full color illustrations in a brand new book designed just for young readers (

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