For the past 10 years, I have been privileged to be part of a women’s Tehillim group in Jerusalem. Every Shabbat, we meet and divide Sefer Tehillim (the Book of Psalms). We pray for the safety of our soldiers, for Eretz Yisrael, and for those injured in terrorist attacks. We also bring our individual lists of people in need of Divine assistance. We pray for women waiting to become mothers, for singles waiting to meet their spouses, for sick people waiting for good health, and for soldiers waiting to come home.
For the last three months, we prayed for Leora (not her real name) and her unborn child. Before beginning to recite the psalms, we turned to Sarah, one of the women in our group who knew Leora. She gave us updates on Leora’s condition, and we said a special prayer for her.
Leora, the mother of a one-year-old, had been having an uneventful pregnancy when everything started to go wrong. She started having contractions at just 25 weeks of pregnancy.
Leora was rushed to the hospital, hooked up to a monitor, and put on complete bed rest. The hospital staff tried to prepare her for the inevitable. She would deliver her baby very shortly, and there were important things to discuss. Her obstetrician told her that the odds of keeping this pregnancy for several more weeks were very long. In fact, no one held out any hope for maintaining this pregnancy at all.
And so began our connection to this young woman, who most of us had never met. Every Shabbat thereafter, Sarah would give us the good news that another week had passed and Leora was still pregnant. We prayed for Leora to maintain the pregnancy, so that the baby would have a better chance of survival. None of us, and certainly not her specialists, imagined that the baby would not be delivered until the 38th week!
As of this writing, the baby, a boy, is still in the hospital with medical complications. We now pray for his full recovery.
This past Shabbat, when one of us asked Sarah about Leora’s health, she turned to a woman sitting on the couch saying Tehillim with us.
“Why not ask the baby’s grandmother?” she asked.
Leora’s mother smiled and recounted details about her daughter’s ordeal. She told us how the professionals involved in her daughter’s care considered it a miracle that she had been able to carry her baby for so long. She then thanked us for our ongoing prayers, saying it was the prayers that saw Leora through.
We routinely pray for many people whom we do not personally know. We don’t always get feedback on their progress. We don’t always know if our prayers were answered. Thus, it was special to meet Leora’s mother and hear firsthand about the positive impact of our prayers.
Just before we left Sarah’s house, Leora’s mother jumped up to give each of us a strong, warm hug.
May Hashem continue answering our prayers l’tovah (for the good).