Form the Hakhel email for this week:
Chazal (Shabbos 67A) teach that if a person, R’L, has a bone stuck in his throat, one should bring a bone of the same type and
place it on the person’s skull and say “Chad chad, nochis bola, bola nochis,
chad chad.” Rebbi Akiva Eiger (Yoreh Deah 335, D’H Nasnah) brings from the
Maharil that this lachash is the last one we can generally use even in our
days--as it is still “boduk um’nuseh.” Indeed, Rabbi Elimelech Lebowitz,
Shlita, noted Rav and Posek in Flatbush, related that he himself was in the
presence of someone choking on a fish bone, and that he used this lachash. The
bone immediately dislodged itself, and the choking person quickly recovered,
b’chasdei Hashem. Suggestion: Keep this lachash handy--you could become a
one-man Hatzaloh team!
Additional Note 1: Last week, a Doctor reported to us that a senior Rav (his
patient) called him in the morning, and asked him for a specialist, as something
from breakfast (apparently a vegetable) had gotten lodged in his throat and he
did not want to have to go to the emergency room to be treated for this
dangerous predicament. The Doctor suggested that he put a piece of the same
item that was lodged in his throat on his head, and then say the Lachash. The
Rav said he would, but requested that a specialist call him in any event with
medical advice. By the time the specialist called the Rav a few moments later,
the Rav had said the Lachash and was fine, telling our Doctor that he was a
Additional Note 2: We asked HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, some questions
regarding use of the Lachash.
Q. Would it work with any food upon which one is choking--and not only on a
bone, as seems to be evident from the previous story which involved a vegetable?
A. Yes. It works with any food.
Q: If one did not have more of that food--could he place something else on the
head? Yes, he could place the empty plate from which the food came.
Q: Did the person choking have to recite the Lachash—or could it be another?
It could be someone else close by. In fact, Rav Belsky related that he was at a
small seudah at which one of the participants began to choke, and he (Rav
Belsky) immediately put an empty plate on the choking person’s skull, and said
the Lachash. The food immediately dislodged with no pain. This was, of course,
the talk of the balance of the seudah--a miracle in front of their eyes!
Incredibly, about a year later, Rav Belsky attended a similar seudah with the
same attendees--and someone began choking again. Rav Belsky once again took
action with the Lachash, and the food dislodged, although the person choking
this time experienced discomfort afterwards for about ten seconds. After this
life-saving event, the people only seemed to discuss that this time there was
pain for several second afterwards... They were already used to the miracle
from last year!
REMEMBER—CHAD CHAD, NOCHIS BOLA, BOLA NOCHIS, CHAD CHAD...
AND REMEMBER that each and every time it works it is a miracle--together with all of those other wonderful miracles of everyday life (can you think of three
new miracles every time you recite “V’al Nissecha SheBechal Yom Imanu” in
Avakesh comments: Generally it is advised that if a person is choking and moving air, nothing should be done since choking is more effective than any intervention and one can inadevertently actually push the food farther down while trying to help. One should allow the person who is choking to cough it up himself. Intervention is only required when air does not appear to be moving through. If so, for most situations, this is at least a harmless maneuver.