web analytics
December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



I Will Hold Your Empty Hand

Reich-082313-Puddle

It flashed through my mind, then, that searing image. Young couple, straight from their chuppah. Seventeen year old Zeesel. It was years since then, and she was still a beautiful woman. And Simche, the chosson.

The Rebbe heard, and the Rebbe listened. The Rebbe saw, and the Rebbe understood.

The Rebbe looked back to the kvittel, and he continued reading.

When he finished, he began to speak.

I stared at the Rebbe. It took a while for his words to register in my brain properly; it was so much the opposite of what I had expected. But then my mind got it.

The Rebbe was talking about adoption.

“…. In a way, a goyishe kint is better, because then there is never any concern about siblings marrying each other…”

Nachum looked more helpless then I had ever seen him.

My father, respected elder and soft-spoken diplomat, spoke up on his behalf. “Rebbe,” Father said respectfully, “we know that. But we didn’t come here for that. We didn’t come to hear about adoption. We came here that they should have their own children.”

The Rebbe’s response was a rending implosion inside my gut. He picked up his hands and raised them in the air. It was the gesture not of futility, but of heartrending desperation. His face was in agony. It said, I have been there, and I have done all I can, and I have exhausted my strength, and the goal is yet beyond me. “What can I do?” he cried. “I can’t do anything else….”

His eyes burned in pain, almost dropping tears.

A rending inside me, of the tremendously deep pain of this holy man. An implosion inside me, as this hope for Nachum dashed on the rocks. And again, the pain of the Rebbe, so deep that it surely meant there was no hope….

We didn’t speak one word to each other on the way home. All along that drive from Williamsburg to Boro Park, we sat in silence. Father, on my side, quiet. Nachum, in the back, silent. I, driving, thankful for the motion to distract me, mirroring their silence. But every foot of pavement rolling under the wheels carried with it waves of pain, flooding and crashing from behind me into the driver’s seat. Quieter ripples of grief, shimmering from the seat beside me. A whirlpool of sadness and muted torment crashing inside me, sucking them in to meld us together.

We drove in silence. I reached Nachum’s apartment and slowed to a stop. I heard the door open, a presence leave, and the shutting of the door. I lifted my foot from the break, and we continued on. We reached our home. The car slowed once more and stopped. And the doors opened, and we got out. The numbness held us, silencing all words.

Nachum never had children.

***

I felt a heaviness inside me, the sadness of the finality of Nachum’s plight. Now he was a very old man. I had known before that he had never had children. But somehow, going back to that day long ago, I felt a new sort of sadness; the sadness of the old man in that young man, doomed to his childless fate.

And yet…

The sadness could not keep down the wondrous awe rising inside me.

“Zeida, that’s just incredible,” I said. “How… how on earth-“

Zeida is a chassid, and this is his life, but I knew I could ask. “How could the Rebbe know such a thing? How?”

“Ahh,” Zeida said, and I could hear the richness in his voice, joy of secure faith softly sweetening his sadness. “Ahh, I’ll tell you another story…”

That was a true Zeida answer.

***

You know that when I came to America, I went to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

His son in law, Reb Menachem Mendel, who would become the next Rebbe, was childless.

The Rebbe was a great man, and those in need of yeshuos or simply his wise counsel, would form long lines daily, waiting to see him. One day, Reb Menachem Mendel, the future rebbe, stood and waited on the long line. He, too, sought the Rebbe’s bracha – a bracha for children.

The line moved slowly. Many of the people looked sad, withdrawn, or anxious. The man on line behind Reb Menachem Mendel looked particularly nervous. His jerky movements and anxious face did not abate throughout the long wait. The process itself was wrenching enough; the tension disturbing. Finally, Reb Menachem Mendel turned and kindly asked the man what was disturbing him so.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “I Will Hold Your Empty Hand”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
What happened to the Internet access? (illustrative)
Plot Thickens in Sony Pictures North Korea Hack Attack Saga
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

Respler-121914

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

Kupfer-121914

Is the Torah offering nechama by subtly hinting that death brings reunion with loved ones who preceded you?

She approached Holofernes and, with a sword concealed under her robe, severed his head.

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

More Articles from Rayzel Reich
Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Reich-082313-Puddle

We had just moved to Boro Park, fresh from the DP camps. The community was new and small, but we were settling in nicely. I knew how fortunate I was to have almost my whole family survive; most had so much less. Our family was a draw for many who needed that familiar feeling of home. One Shabbos afternoon I answered the door to find one such friend and a couple I did not recognize.

I didn’t need that much garlic. After all… how much garlic, exactly, could I put into the chicken without overdoing it?

But something made me leave the white, rounded head on the counter after cracking off a few bulbs, rather than putting it back in the fridge. Maybe I’d need more.

I stare, and I stare, trying to connect to those deep, seeing, eyes, to the wisdom and depth within that face. And all I can think, murmurs sliding in a circle through my mind – is, hadras panim… hadras panim… hadras panim…

“…will the kid say, ‘Oh, I’m walking into the strange house, just like Goldilocks?! Maybe the kid will think..”

Apparently I had walked into a family discussion of the pros and cons of reading fairy tales to children.

It was Moishele, and Itche, and me. We did everything together. We even made our own language, which only we understood. In shul they jokingly called us “the troika,” after the three bishops whose authority extended across Poland.

These are things we do not say. These are things we are not supposed to know. These are things the Germans wish to do to us, wish us to be ignorant of – wish to round us up like unsuspecting lambs for slaughter, like dumb oxen who don’t know better. To know is to be […]

I was a bit surprised to see my sister Rini sitting in the rocking chair at the end of the kitchen, rocking peacefully back and forth. Rini, age eleven, generally prefers more intense activities, such as bike riding, ripsticking, and yelling.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/i-will-hold-your-empty-hand/2013/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: