My ancestors have been Chabad chasidim going back at least one hundred and fifty years, but because we lived in Australia, we were able to visit the Rebbe in New York – half a world away – only rarely. I myself made the trip for the first time in 1971, when I was nineteen years old.
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I was most fortunate to be able to obtain an appointment with the Rebbe not long after my arrival, and I very much looked forward to meeting him, especially because I wanted to ask his blessing for a specific problem I was experiencing.
For quite a while, I had been plagued with migraine headaches. Sometimes, they would come on as often as once a week, preceded by flashes of light appearing before my eyes. When I began experiencing those flashes, I knew that shortly thereafter I would get a migraine headache. I had been to medical specialists who prescribed different medications, but none of them helped.
I had only hoped for the Rebbe’s blessing for recovery from this ailment, so one can imagine my surprise when, in addition, the Rebbe gave me a medical prescription. He said, “When you first get the signs that a migraine is coming on – when you get those flashes in your eyes – you should immediately take Anacin.”
Anacin was not a medication that I was familiar with at the time, as it was not available in Australia (and is still not). So I responded, “I don’t know what that is.”
The Rebbe then picked up a small square piece of paper, on which he wrote just one word in pencil, “ANACIN,” and he handed it to me.
The following day, I went to a nearby drugstore then owned by the Shpritzer family. I told the pharmacist that I wanted to buy Anacin. With my Australian accent, I must not have been pronouncing the name properly, because he couldn’t understand what I wanted. “What is it for?” he asked.
“It’s for migraine headaches,” I answered.
“It sounds like you want Anacin, but these tablets are not strong enough to cure migraine headaches,” he said.
By then the Shpritzer sons had come to help. They even offered to give me something much stronger that might be more effective.
“But Anacin is what the Rebbe told me I should be taking for my migraines,” I protested, and I reached into my wallet to show them the piece of paper on which the Rebbe had written “ANACIN.”
There was no argument after that. They sold me every type of Anacin that was on the market – plain, minimum strength, maximum strength, etc. – and, thank G-d, together with the Rebbe’s blessing, the Anacin worked.
Anacin is a simple pill; it combines aspirin with caffeine, that’s all. But when I took it before the onset of a migraine headache – the causes of which are still unknown to modern science – it worked like magic for me.
Now, almost fifty years later whenever I go to New York and the Shpritzers see me, even before they greet me with Shalom Aleicham, they say with a smile: “Anacin.”
Ever since that audience, I have not walked out of the house without Anacin tablets, just in case one of these migraines came on again. I even keep them at my seat in shul. But I very rarely need them anymore.
I also gave the Anacin to people who I knew were suffering from migraines but, unfortunately, it did not help anyone else. I became convinced that the Rebbe prescribed this medication only for me, and so it worked only for me. But some forty years later I found out this was not necessarily so.
While on my way with my wife to vacation in Israel about five years ago, I received a call from a man from Manchester named Zalman. He had seen a video of my JEM interview – which had been posted as part of the “Living Torah” weekly series – and had been so taken by my story of the Rebbe’s Anacin prescription that he wanted to come with his wife to Israel to meet me.
And they did just that. Several days later, during a Shabbat meal, Zalman told me his story. He had been suffering terribly from migraines for many years. He runs a large business, but sometimes in the middle of the day he would have to leave his office during a migraine attack to go home and lie down because he was unable to function. When he saw the “Living Torah” video, he got a strong feeling that he was meant to hear of the Rebbe’s prescription because it applied to him as well.
He decided to do everything that I had done then, and even bought the pills at the very same store that I went to in New York! Fortunately, the Anacin worked for Zalman just as well as it did for me, and he couldn’t thank me enough for sharing my story. He felt that just as the Rebbe had helped me to alleviate my migraines, the Rebbe was also there for him.
It turned out that he was not the only one.
Years later, when I found out that my secretary also suffered from debilitating migraines, I suggested that she should try Anacin as per the Rebbe’s instruction to me. Being dedicated to the Rebbe, she took this suggestion very seriously, and unlike the medications she tried previously, Anacin worked for her, as well.
Besides the medical advice that the Rebbe gave me during that audience, he also gave me advice regarding my studies, saying that in the merit of having fixed daily times for Torah learning, I would be blessed with material and spiritual success.
To this day, I regularly remind myself of these blessings (as well as many other blessings I subsequently received from the Rebbe). There are no words to adequately describe the gratitude I feel to the Rebbe for all the good that his blessings have brought to me and to my family.
Mr. Mottel Feiglin is a real-estate developer. He lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia, where he was interviewed in July of 2016.