Rav Naftali’s Psychology
One of the great gifts of Chassidic rebbes and especially of Rav Naftali was the ability to use psychology and thus help the people who came seeking assistance.
One day, as Rav Naftali was sitting at home, a young woman entered his study and asked to speak to him. As she sat before him she began to cry terribly.
“Rebbe, I am a sad and bitter woman. I am married and my greatest dream is to give birth to a child but I am cursed by constantly miscarrying. Now I am pregnant again and I am in my eighth month. I have come to you to ask you for your bracha that I go through my months and give birth to a healthy child.”
Rav Naftali said to her: “I want you to know that you are presently in your ninth month and you will give birth in the tenth month.”
“But Rebbe,” the woman protested, “how can you say that? I know exactly the number of months and I know that I am in my eighth month.”
“In that case, I order you to push your count ahead by one month.”
The chassidim who heard the Rebbe’s words were astonished but they held their peace until the woman had left. Then they turned to Rav Naftali and asked that he please explain why he told her that.
“The woman who was here is still young and she has obviously been suffering miscarriages in the last month of her pregnancies. She has become filled with fear and trepidation as she enters her ninth month and this might cause her to miscarry again. If she thought that she were wrong in her count and that this was not the dreaded month it would calm her soul and ease her mind so that the chances of her miscarrying would be greatly lessened.”