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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
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I Will Hold Your Empty Hand


“I have to catch a plane,” the man responded, his nervousness gushing out, “and I must see the Rebbe first. I must, I must.”

This seemed to be an easily ameliorated situation. “Please,” Reb Menachem Mendel offered, “you can go ahead of me.”

Visibly relieved, the man expressed his thanks, and was soon called in to see the Rebbe.

The nervous man was in the Rebbe’s room for ten or fifteen minutes. When he came out, he looked calmer and happier. He had received his bracha, and he would still make his plane. “Thank you!” he called to his benefactor, hurrying out to make his flight.

Now, finally, it was Reb Menachem Mendel’s turn to go into the Rebbe.

Quietly, respectfully, he asked his father in law to bless him for that greatest gift – children.

The old Rebbe’s response was- “I can’t. I just gave it away.”

Zeida stopped talking.

I stared at him. ”What does that mean?” I asked.

“It means,” Zeida explained patiently, “that he felt he could bless one person with a child. And now… he gave it away. He had nothing left to give.“

I sat, quiet, simply digesting.

Zeida’s second story had not explained the first. There was no new information, secret, clarification, that would light things up and explain.

Some things, maybe, couldn’t be explained.

And yet…

This thing slowly settled within me, swirling and mixing to a smooth, rich color.

Sadness, so much sadness. Some were denied, and lived their lives out without the blessing they sought.

And yet…

When there are those that have the power to deny, to know that they cannot give…

That strength of knowledge is itself a comfort, holding us in its reassuring grasp. The greatness that knows that it cannot give, can also give, when it is able.

The knowledge that that greatness is there, connected. As long as those Great men and women are there for us, and pray for us, and we can connect to them…

As long as we can reach out our hands, and touch them… Then even those left with requests unfulfilled… shall not be left with hands truly empty.

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