Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

27 Teves 5759, January 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Everyday Miracles
by C. L.

A Tehillim rally recently held in the Tamir Hotel was attended by hundreds of women. Aside from being inspired by the speeches delivered, we were deeply moved to be part of some fifty rounds of the complete Sefer Tehillim jointly said by the audience, rather, the participants -- for we did not only come to `hear' but to `be heard'. One of the messages presented was: Why start the good `habit' of Tehilim when the going is rough when you can be close to Hashem EVERY DAY, when thing are normal!

Additionally inspiring was the fact that simultaneously, in locations on three other continents and many cities around the globe, similar Tehillim groups were joining us in our recital, creating a Crown of Glory for Hashem.

Tehillim groups are constantly being organized in neighborhoods and apartment buildings. This is the way these sessions work: Signs are put up inviting the women for a (weekly) 15 minute session to begin promptly at..... The women come and pick up a booklet containing about 5 Psalms from a pile on the table (first saying the prayer preceding the recital of the entire Tehillim). As soon as they finish one booklet, they take another, until the pile has disappeared -- usually within 15 minutes for ten-or-so women. (When Tehillim becomes more familiar, it goes quicker.) That's all there is to it. No special commitment. If you can't come one week, you try to come the next.

And when you've all finished -- without talking in between -- one woman says the prayer afterwards. So simple. And such a wonderful feeling to be part of such a project. It is uplifting, inspiring, cleansing. And it helps for whatever ails you. Guaranteed to bring you closer to Hashem! And to your neighbors.

In this world so filled with problems and pain, we often do not realize the everyday wonders, favors and miracles that Hashem, in His infinite kindness, performs for us. Recently, three events took place in our small community that are so marvelous, each in its own way, that they cannot be overlooked.

The first is the story of a woman I will call Tikva. Although only in her mid-forties, she suffered from asthma and her health began to deteriorate. She developed severe breathing problems which continued to worsen and then, she frighteningly lapsed into a coma. Our whole community prayed for her daily, recited Tehillim and refrained from speaking loshon hora for the sake of her recovery. But the doctors were not optimistic. She developed a hole in her lung, but in her condition, it was too risky to operate. Her life hung in the balance and it was difficult to feel hopeful.

One of her closest friends, shortly due to give birth, sat up with her all night. The yeshiva bochurim went to pray for her on Har Hazeisim during the day, and when her twelve-year-old nephew put on tefillin for the first time at the Me'oras Hamachpela, we all said Tehillim with renewed fervor. Maybe it was in the merit of our Ovos and Imahos buried there, but that very day marked the turning point, the beginning of Tikva's recovery.

She emerged from the coma and began to speak, thinking that only a few hours had elapsed. The hole in her lung began to heal on its own. The doctors were amazed. Shortly afterwards, she was released from the hospital and a month later she celebrated her recovery with a seudas hoda'a in our community. Then I saw her at a sheva brochos, smiling and chatting with her friends. My neighbor asked me, "Do you see the walking miracle?" the same thought had just crossed my mind, too. Sometimes we don't have to wait until techiyas hameisim to witness a resurrection.


The second miracle happened to a woman I will call Rachel because like Rochel Imenu, she was childless for a long time. Thirteen pain-filled years of dashed hopes, disappointment, and despair. Although seemingly calm and cheeful, she must have suffered in her silent house. In our small community of large families, the sounds of other people's children could be heard outside her door all the time.

One night Rachel invited several of us to her home for a shiur. One woman brought her small baby along with her. It had been fast asleep but awoke suddenly and started crying.

How strange its cries sounded in this always quiet home. It seemed to strike a poignant chord, and I am sure I was not the only one attuned to it. At that moment I, and surely the others, prayed silently, but with all the concentration we could muster, that a baby's cries should fill this home, too. The cries of Rachel's own baby.

Incredibly, it happened. The sound barrier was broken. Like our matriarchs who were finally blessed with children of their own after many years of tears, Rachel now has her own little miracle to hold and behold, a blessing all the more precious for its having been withheld.

"You turn the barren housewife into a joyful mother of children." These beautiful words from Hallel are even more meaningful now, to Rachel and to all of us who know her.


The third event came in the form of a wedding invitation. Two young people are about to join their lives and build a Jewish home. Nice, but it happens almost every day. What's so special about this particular wedding? One might say it is not much short of a miracle.

The kalla, whom I will refer to as Nitzan, was born to totally secular, left-wing parents in a kibbutz in northern Israel. She grew up knowing nothing of Yiddishkeit, although she did learn some Jewish history in school, taught as just another subject. As she grew older, the corrupt, amoral lifestyle of the kibbutz disgusted Nitzan and she left in search of an answer to her spiritual quest. Not knowing where to start, she first groped among the religions of the Far East, but she soon realized that this was not what her heart was seeking.

Finally, she found her way to Jerusalem and to a women's seminary. There she found her answer and claimed her own legacy, the Torah. It was at this time that we first met Nitzan and invited her to come to us for a Shabbos, then another Shabbos. Her joy in the mitzvos was contagious and we all enjoyed having her with us. Despite (or perhaps because of) all the difficulties she had to overcome, especially the opposition of her family, the levels Nitzan has reached are truly inspiring.

Her chosson, Dovid, born to a traditional Sefardi family, went off the Torah path for a long time. After serving in the Israeli army, he lived a secular life in the United States for several years, but eventually, the meaningless materialism made him decide to return home, in every sense of the word. To his family, to Israel, to learning in a yeshiva and leading a Torah life.

The wedding of Nitzan and Dovid was a true Kiddush Hashem. The kalla's parents and relatives finally met their daughter's religious friends and saw them -- not through the distorted media stereotype -- but as genuine, caring people who wanted the best for Nitzan. The wedding was a cross section of the Israeli population: Israelis and Americans, Ashkenazim, Sefardim, secular and many shades of religious observance. Two vibrant scenes still stand out in my mind: the first is of Nitzan dancing with her mother and two sisters in a tight circle, faces glowing with joy, surrounded by a larger outer circle of her friends. Almost all were young Israeli baalos tshuva who had struggled to find an answer, as she describes it. Each one alone is a miracle!

The second scene, which I glimpsed through the mechitza, consisted of Nitzan's two elderly uncles happily dancing with their arms around the shoulders of the chosson's friends. Some heads were bare, others were covered with borrowed silk yarmulkas, knitted kipot or black hats. All the guests were joyfully celebrating this very special event together.

If only the unity felt at that wedding could spill over into all of our daily lives and hasten the coming of Moshiach... But with miracles like these, happening all the time, can that time be far away?


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