Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I have been a faithful reader of this amazing column for over thirty years and, even though you address someone’s individual, personal problem, your reply is always as if you are speaking to everyone else going through the same or similar crisis, face to face. I have reached out to you three times during those years with my own issues and you have always responded, but sadly, I never took your sound advice, just the momentary comfort that you afforded me a shoulder to cry on. This is not that kind of letter. It is a letter of belated thanks and appreciation for the strength and the wisdom you imparted, that this time around I will take!


I married a bit later than the accepted age, coming from a Jewish but non-practicing home and opting for a career before I got tied down in marriage. When I did meet Mr. Wonderful, as you called him sarcastically, I didn’t see the red flags or the smooth talking lies and jumped right in and said ‘Yes’ when he proposed with a cheap and small engagement ring. My mistake became glaringly apparent almost as soon as we were married, but pride stood in the way of what I should have done, again aided by your advice, but did not. And then I got pregnant and divorce was no longer an option.

I wrote to you once again when my twin boys were born and I was having an extremely hard time mentally and emotionally. While taking care of my newborn sons, I was forced to look after an abusive, lying, philandering, drunken gambler as well, and I wrote to you again in my desperation. And again, you answered me promptly, with words of concern, comfort and caring, like that of a loving mother I did not have. ‘Leave him,’ you said. ‘I will help you,’ you said. ‘There are wonderful people who will care for you while you get back on your feet,’ you said, making me feel better. But as I finished reading your reply, I knew I wasn’t going to do anything. That momentary comfort would tide me over I thought.

It took me twelve years of near nervous breakdowns and almost suicide attempts to realize that I had to rid myself of him, if not for my own well-being then for my sons. Sam, the gentle one, so fragile, quiet and extraordinary was the child of my heart, the one most like me in that he is a dreamer, he looks for the good in everything and everyone and is very much a loner because of it, whereas Dan, the elder twin, was brash, loud, outspoken and abrasive, much like his father. When it was decided that we were getting a divorce Dan decided that he wanted to stay with his father while Sam stayed with me. While my heart broke having to agree to this arrangement, I saw it as the best of a bad situation and agreed.

For a year or two after the divorce, there was a regular stream of phone calls and intermittent visits back and forth with the boys. But over the years that followed this too dried up and I lost track of Dan five years after he and his father moved out of the country. I missed him but there was not much I could do as he was emancipated and according to my ex, out on his own. So the years passed and after awhile my heart had to accept that I had lost Dan. Sam, on the other hand, missed him terribly, he said it felt like a large piece of himself was missing each time we reminisced and spoke of Dan. So I stopped bringing him up. Life goes on.

One day, Sam, who was then twenty-six at the time and close to graduating and getting his PhD., startled me by saying he was having trouble breathing. He saw my concern and said I shouldn’t worry, it was probably stress-related. He also divulged that he was going to be circumcised in a few weeks because he had been studying for his full acceptance into the Jewish faith as a practicing member, so stress and study overload could certainly be the reason for his weak state of health. I was shocked and surprised at what he had undertaken, but not at all displeased. Still, I insisted he get checked out by our family doctor. He went for a multitude of test and the results were devastating. Both his lungs were damaged and he would have to be on dialysis until a proper donor match could be found, which could take forever. This was his father’s parting gift, second hand smoke, a killer to people who never smoked but lived with or associated with one who did. His father was a chain-smoker.

Sam’s health deteriorated rapidly from that point, but still he insisted on going through with the circumcision, against his doctors’ advice. And that is when I met Chedvah, his classmate and the love of his life. Together she and I worked tirelessly to make fundraiser and awareness meetings to screen for donors to find a match for Sam. Months went by when we got the call that a match had been found and the surgery was scheduled almost immediately as the donor was here only for a short while. Thank G-d the surgery was a success and the prognosis was that Sam could live a relatively long and healthy life with the new lung and a ton of medication. The first thing Sam did was go to the synagogue on his first Shabbat home and say a special prayer of thanks. The second thing he did was propose to Chedvah, whom I loved from the moment I met her, and a wedding date was set for this coming June.

One night, as we were all sitting together planning the wedding, Sam suddenly looked up and said he wanted to find out who his donor was and to thank him because one must acknowledge a good deed done to him. But it was almost impossible because the donor wanted to remain anonymous. Until two hospital bills arrived, one for Sam… and a second in error sent to our address to a Mr. Dan with the same last name. We were stunned. Could it be? How was this possible? When we were told the lung was an exact match, which is a rarity… could it really be our Dan? And soon the doorbell rang and there he stood, tall, handsome and the spitting image of Sam.

After we hugged and kissed and caught our breath, Dan explained he was living in Israel these passed seven years after his Dad threw him out. He only returned to attend a friend’s wedding when he saw an advertisement in a Jewish paper that there was a drive on for a donor match and on a whim he joined. He was just as shocked when he found that the person in need was his own brother! We sat together for a heavy moment processing the miracle of Hashem’s ways and the gifts we had been given when we return home to our Heavenly Father. Dan, too, had sought out his faith and had his brit milah in Israel. He is a scientist and also teaches at a well-known university. We spent an amazingly wonderful evening together before Dan had to catch his flight back, but he promised to return for Sam’s aufruf and wedding.

To say that my heart was near to bursting as I looked at my two beautiful sons hugging each other and my soon to be daughter-in-law, I said a silent prayer of todah to the Almighty. That’s when I remembered that a Jew must always remember to acknowledge and say ‘thank you’ to all those who have done him/her kindnesses. And the one person who came to mind first and foremost was you and your words of faith, solace, comfort and encouragement that sustained me throughout my long and arduous journey. Please know that come the night of the wedding, we would be honored to have you come, but should you not be able to, just know that as Dan and I walk Sam down to the chuppah you will be walking along side us in spirit, because as I gave life to Sam and Dan and Dan gave life to Sam by donating his lung, you enriched and sustained my life in my darkest hour and helped me reach this day.

I thank you with all my heart.


Dear Friend,

I have no words! Each time I think I’ve heard of a modern day miracle that would rate being in the “Briyas HaOlam” or “Kriyas Yam Suf” category, someone like you comes along and adds another notch to that belt.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us and extending the chizuk to others that miracles are all around us if we only have faith and love for our Father above and in particular, I thank you for this amazing validation of the fact that HaKadosh Baruch Hu so loves to see His children come home to Him and sit in achdus and loving togetherness. What a timely and beautiful reaffirmation of His love for us. “Hinei matov u’manaim sheves achim gam yachad!” Mazel Tov and all my very best wishes!!!!!!

To all my loyal readers here’s, wishing you a chag kosher v’same’ach during this time of miracles! Pack a bag and be ready, Moshiach is already here and just waiting for the thumbs up from HaKodosh Baruch Hu to gather us up and take us home!

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