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
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
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
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...