Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Cheshvan 5761 - November 22, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
This is the Child I Prayed For
A personal story as told to R. Chadshai

Chana beseeched Hashem, "Of all the millions of things You have created in Your world, could You not spare me one son?" We are told that on Rosh Hashona, Hashem remembers barren women. Sora Imeinu and Rochel Imeinu, and also Chana, mother of Shmuel Hanovi, were all remembered on Rosh Hashona.

This is the true story of Avigail, whose name we have changed to conceal her identity. She had been barren for several years and according to the best doctors, there was no chance of her having a child. These doctors are mystified by the number of children she now has, each one a miracle in its own right.


The sound of quiet weeping came from one of the corners in the ladies' shul. This was a few days before Rosh Hashona in one of the well known shuls in Bnei Brak. A young woman who had gotten up early for vosikin buried her face in her siddur and sobbed silently.

Rebbetzin K. noticed her crying. Obviously something serious was troubling this woman. This same woman had been davening here every single day for quite a while. She went up to her and beckoned her to one side, at the same time asking what was the matter.

"My name is Avigail. I have been married for over two years and there is no sign of a child," she answered, her voice choked with tears. The Rebbetzin looked at her in amazement. The woman continued, "If you are surprised at my despondence after such a short time, I will explain. Some doctor's negligence in my childhood brought about a situation where I will never conceive. This is what top specialists have told me. They say that there is absolutely no point in raising my hopes, as there is no chance of my bearing a child."

"They have no right," the Rebbetzin interrupted heatedly. "Doctors are meant to heal people, not to pronounce a sentence. Surely you know that Hashem holds the key to childbirth. You just keep on davening. I am convinced that only prayers work and there is nothing like tears to open sealed doors."

Tearfully, Avigail told the Rebbetzin that since the beginning of Elul, she had resolved to get up before dawn to say the entire Shir Hashirim and to join the vosikin minyon.

Patting her shoulder, the Rebbetzin said, "I will do what I can for you. My father-in-law, my husband and I will all pray for you on Rosh Hashona. This great day is well known as a time of `remembrance' for childless couples. Hashem will help you."


At that time -- continues Avigail -- we lived in a rented flat in Bnei Brak. One day, a person came up to my husband. He only knew him by sight but never had had anything to do with him. "I'm sorry to trouble you," he began agitatedly, "but I must tell you about a dream I just had. I don't usually go in for dreams, but this one was so vivid. In my dream, you suddenly turned into a very wealthy man. I have no idea why I dreamt about you since I hardly know you, and normally, one dreams about things which occupy the mind during the day. Nevertheless, I saw your face so clearly that I just felt I had to come and tell you about it."

He calmed down after having relayed the message and went on his way. But my husband could not concentrate on his daily routine. He kept thinking about the dream and wondering whether to take any notice of it. At last he decided to go to our local Rov. He chose his words with care while the Rov listened attentively. After some thought, he replied,

"This is definitely an authentic dream. You can choose between two things: either wealth or children, but you must consult your wife."

My husband came home to ask me and, of course, there was only one unequivocal answer. Children.

He was full of emotion as he returned to the Rov who told him where and how to concentrate on this request in the prayers of the upcoming Rosh Hashona.


That week I had a phone call from one of the prominent ladies of Bnei Brak. She explained that she had invited guests for Shabbos and they had cancelled. Would we do her a great favor and take their place? We were more than happy to accept the invitation.

During Shabbos, this woman heard about my problem. She suggested, "My husband is close to one of the famous Rabbonim in town. I will ask him to get you an appointment to see him. You may have quite a wait, but he will get you in."

When her husband phoned for an appointment, he was told that someone had just cancelled one for the next morning. We were delighted. The Rabbi received us and spoke one sentence in Yiddish, which I did not understand.

My hostess, who had accompanied us, took me aside and hugged me in great joy. "He said that you have nothing to worry abut. You will have sons and daughters." She explained that this Rebbe did not usually promise things so positively, and when they had made a request for themselves, they had been told it was not in his power to promise anything.

All this time, I had been going to doctors in spite of everything. One particular one did not offer any hope, but told me to take a particular X ray and blood tests which I had taken before. He insisted that he only trusted tests he himself arranged. He also left four phone numbers so that I could notify him of the results immediately.

The results of the test were positive. I was so excited that I got violent cramps and he sent me off to the hospital immediately. I phoned my erstwhile hostess for reassurance. She consulted the Rabbi and told me his reply: "Did I not promise her a child, and not just the possibility of one?"

I took it upon myself to say Chana's prayer every day until the child was safely in my arms. I also promsed that if it was a boy, I would call him Shmuel, as well.

The haftora of the week that my eldest son was born began with the words, "And Shmuel said..."

The news spreak quickly. My son was called Shmuel, which roused some muttering among the family, since no one bore that name. One grandfather had been called Alexander, but no one seemed to be able to verify the fact. Someone approached the sole survivor of that generation, an old aunt, and asked whether she knew his true name.

"The goyim where he lived," she said, "used to call him Alexander, but his real name was Shmuel."

Incidentally, she passed away within the month...


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