Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Blessing of Children

Pesach Time in Rashkov during the time of the Rebbe, Rabbi Yosele, was a special time for his Chassidim to join him. A time that they experienced joy and spiritual elevation. However, there was one couple who came each year but would come in sadness and leave just as disheartened.

The couple had not been blessed with children. Each year they would request a blessing for children and each year they would be told the time is not yet right.

On one particular year, the Chassidim gathered at the table of the Rebbe for the first Seder. The men were around one table with the Rebbe and the women at another behind a curtain. As the Seder began to come to an end, the Rebbe starting to sing Shir HaShirim with concentration. The Chassidim enjoyed and swayed to the tune. A special mood was felt by all and they began to dance. All the men danced in a circle along with the Rebbe, all except one Chassid who sat sadly at the table. Looking over to the women's side he noticed that his wife was crying.

The dancing was beautiful, the Rebbe seemed to be in another world. As he gradually finished and wished to return to his seat, the Rebbe found his path was blocked.

Before she realized what she was doing or that she had moved to the men's side of the room, a woman stood blocking the path of the Rebbe and cried out "Rebbe! You have to help me. I will not move until you promise me a blessing of children!" The Rebbe fixed his piercing gaze at her and then began to raise his voice. He did not talk to her though, for his gaze moved to be fixed heavenward.

"In the Mishnah in Pesachim it says: 'the first cup of wine is poured and here the son asks' But I ask You, Master of the world! How can the son ask, if there is no son? Why do You not grant this childless couple a son to ask the Four Questions? And, our Sages further state: 'it is a custom to distribute nuts and almonds to the children on the night of Pesach so that they will not fall asleep and will ask the questions.' But I ask You, Hashem. To whom can this couple give nuts and almonds? Why should You not give them children so that they can fulfill this holy Jewish custom too?"

Rav Yosele was quiet. Then he looked at his Chassidim and said, "Do you know that Pesach is a favourable time for the barren to be blessed with children? Sarah Imenu who was also childless, was blessed on Pesach for that is when the angels came to tell her that at the same time the following year she would be blessed with Yitzchak."

Then he turned to the woman still standing in front of him and said kindly, "Yes, Pesach is a favourable time for the barren to be blessed. And now, go back to your place. I hereby bless you that at this same time next year you will be embracing a child.

The story continues that the Rebbe's blessing did come true and the couple were blessed with children.
(story adapted from Tales of Tzaddikim - volume of Bereishis)

It might not be Pesach, but we are taught to remember every day that we were brought out of Mitzrayim, as if it were happening to us today.

In today's time it is not as easy to obtain the blessing of a Rebbe or Tzaddik, however, the words of this story can give strength to any married Jewish woman who still is looking forward to holding her own precious bundle of joy. The power of charity is also said to turn decrees to the good.

Please give towards our Bayit Chadash - Wedding Project and assist needy Jewish couples to set up their new home in Israel. The Gemach includes a gift package towards their new Mitzvah of Family Purity. In this way by strengthening other women to fulfill this important Mitzvah, one that enables Jewish women to bring down holy souls, may you too be blessed with holy and healthy children.

There are also couples that have difficulty covering medical costs to ensure that they are healthy to be able to bring children into the world.

May we all be blessed with homes filled with Shalom Bayis and the joyous laughter of children. Children who grow in the ways of Torah and bring much Nachas to their parents, Am Yisrael and Hashem.

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