A few weeks ago I shared a special story with my readers of a wonderful couple, Yechiel and Leah, who went through a very difficult and complicated pregnancy, but one that ended with the miraculous birth of a healthy baby boy in her 32nd week of pregnancy, against all odds.
I had the honor and privilege today to attend the special bris of that baby boy. The bris took place in Bnei Brak at the shul of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, with the rav himself as the sandak. The entire event from beginning to end was very special for so many reasons.
For starters, a bris at Rav Kanievsky’s shul is quite fascinating. After the morning tefillos, Rav Kanievsky sits on the sandak’s chair for the next two or so hours. Anyone who wishes to have the honor of Rav Chaim being the sandak of their child arranges in advance a slot in that time frame and comes to the shul and waits their turn. There is a line of mothers and babies waiting one after the other to have the bris take place in his shul with the wonderful blessing of Rav Kanievsky. After the ceremony of the bris, in every corner of the room you can see the different mohalim taking care of the child they’ve come to circumcise.
All of the babies that day were a week old. But one baby boy was a head above them all. Leah and Yechiel’s little baby boy was a month and a half old and a true survivor. I could almost hear this little baby’s heart singing and thanking Hashem for granting him a chance to be a part of Klal Yisrael. To be given the chance to grow up healthy and happy and to perform the mitzvot like the rest of the holy nation of Israel, to keep Shabbat and all the holidays, and to be able to learn Torah and sing praises to the one above for giving him life in this world. Needless to say, the entire family was soaring high above the clouds with happiness.
Every heart was filled with gratitude to the Almighty for granting this special soul a chance to live. The proud parents, grandparents and family from both sides came, plus a handful of friends. What was felt most of all was the amazing wonders of G-d and His infinite mercy and love for His children.
Leah gave the most beautiful speech. She started by reliving all the terrible predictions of the doctors regarding the reality of the way things looked at the beginning. How they all told her to abort the baby. And all the skeptical and terrifying information that was explained to them in regard to her specific situation.
Leah shared Rav Kanievsky’s instructions that they should do no further tests and do nothing other than pray. These instructions were so hard for Leah to keep and understand. How can a rabbi say not to listen to the doctors and to just pray? Aside from all the fears of what can and might be, Leah was now faced with another test of faith of simply following blindly the words of a great rabbi.
She unfolded her process of faith in G-d and how hard it was to blindly believe. We were all in tears by the time she finished. She spoke about the day her baby was born, and how till the very last second she still had nothing to hold on to except for her faith in Hashem and in the people she loved and looked up to in life who taught her so much about faith. It was so strengthening and uplifting to hear and see how a Jewish person worships the creator.
The next day they had another small meal to give thanks and gratitude once again to the Almighty for all the wonderful miracles he sent their way with this beautiful and healthy baby boy.
Yechiel, too, shared how scared they were by the weekly reminders by the doctors not to continue with this pregnancy. When they came to the hospital for a checkup two months before the birth, the doctors simply said that they would not let her leave the hospital because they would have to check her constantly now to monitor this baby, but they gave her no hope that the baby would be born normal or even survive the pregnancy. Yechiel also tried to gather his strength from Rav Kanievsky’s blessing and together with Leah they cried and prayed every second that indeed their miracle would come as well.
He recalled the last phone call before Leah was being rushed into the operating room and the fright that he felt about the “end” being so near. He raced to the hospital wondering if that would be the first and last time he would see his baby.
We were all in tears once again just imagining what that couple must have gone through all those months.
Each one of us has his own challenges, big and small, and the greatness of the Jew is how he rises from his challenges and simply connects to Hashem.
Many times after a great miracle occurs we tend to minimize the greatness of the event and nature takes the place of the miracle. Rehashing the event and giving gratitude and praise to the one above after such amazing events strengthens us and reminds us of just how great the intervention of Hashem really was.
We are approaching the happy and colorful holiday of Purim, where everything turned around miraculously at the last minute. The entire story of Purim was written in the “natural” state without angels flying and lightning coming from the sky.
We are taught that the entire Megillah is all one great miracle. It is also known that all of the holidays will cease to exist in the times of the Mashiach except for Chanukah and Purim. This is because on both of these holidays the Jewish nation chose to believe in G-d and serve Hashem accordingly, despite all the hardships and all that occurred without necessarily seeing the great wonders. The people believed out of love and not out of force.
Something that one works hard to achieve cannot be taken away from him, especially his spiritual work and worship of G-d.
This beautiful young couple worked so hard to believe and worship Hashem, out of love and acceptance, during a time that they felt only darkness and fear. Their story will never be forgotten due to all their hard work and effort in believing. And the gratitude that they have to Hashem will live on in all of them, especially in this little baby boy forever.