Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I am a 70-year-old widow living in Tel Aviv.

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My husband died last year after a long illness. I was happy to be his caretaker but after he died, I found myself at loose ends. One of my children suggested that I do volunteer work at the hospital near my home. This turned out to be a good idea and I now volunteer four days a week in the baby nursery. With all the babies born every week, they can always use an extra pair of hands, and. I feel useful as soon as I put on the white volunteers jacket. And that brings me to the reason for this letter to you, Mrs. Bluth.

About a month ago a young woman gave birth to her first child and to her shock the baby boy was born with Down Syndrome. She and her young husband were not at all prepared for this and were in turmoil.

One of my jobs is to wheel the babies into their mothers for feeding. When I took this sweet little baby into his mother, she was sobbing and with her hand motioned me and the bassinette away. When I got back to the nursery, the head nurse told me that she was sorry that no one had told me that she doesn’t want to see the baby. I felt awful. I asked if perhaps I might talk with her and I was advised not to. I fed the baby his bottle and after that every time I could, I would pick him up and cuddle him.

After two days the young woman left the hospital and she and her husband informed the staff that they would not be taking their child home. The baby was put up for adoption. But every day one of his grandparents would come to visit him and hold him. In addition to that I noticed that all the nurses would make it a point to pass his little bassinette and touch him and say something to him.

He is now three weeks old and was just taken home by the couple who will be adopting him. He was dressed in nice new clothing and everyone made a big deal of saying goodbye and hugging him. The tears ran down my face as I gave him a hug. I am happy for him that he will be in a loving home, but I’m sad that it isn’t his parents who wanted him. I find myself crying when I think of that. My daughter tells me that I should be overjoyed and not the least bit sad. What do you think?

 

 

Dear Friend,

Your letter brought tears to my eyes. I’m not quite sure how pain and joy can fill the same space in my heart but as saddened as I was that this young mother could not muster up the love in her heart for this special neshama that Hashem placed in her care, a challenge He bestows on the worthiest and most deserving of mankind, it saddened me that she couldn’t fulfill His expectations. I was overjoyed at the same time that this little blessing was given to another couple who will love, cherish and protect this special little one just as his Heavenly Father does.

I don’t mean to be harsh on those who fall short, please forgive me if it appears so. We are guilty of falling short on fulfilling that which HaKadosh Boruch Hu challenges us with, because it makes us uncomfortable, because it is an inconvenient hardship that may last a lifetime, because our neighbors will judge us poorly. Then I wonder what and where we would have been if Avraham Avinu had had these thoughts when he was asked to bring his beloved son Yitzchok as a sacrifice to Hashem? What and where would we be if he had said, “Why me? Why must I be the one to make this sacrifice?” Baruch Hashem that Avraham didn’t think twice, but gathered up his tools for the akeida and his beloved son Yitzchok, and went forth without one moment’s hesitation to do Hashem’s bidding. And look how things turned out!

I can only be grateful that Hashem had a Plan B for this sweet little neshama and that his adoptive parents were indeed meant to have. him.

Let us all look at our blessings and be thankful for them whether they come to us via conventional means or indirectly. Hashem creates the perfect and the perfectly imperfect and we should welcome both as gifts that were meant for us because we are special too.

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