I Want Children!"
By L. Halperin and R. Gershowitz
Lag B’Omer Miracle Story. * The storm outside didn’t bother me. The puddles
soaking my feet didn’t stop me. I knew one thing - that the conversation I had
just heard was amazing Divine providence, and that I had to go to the Rebbe. The
success of my visit to Crown Heights depended on this moment. * A touching story
for Lag B’Omer, a yom segula for zara chaya v’kayama (children).
wasn’t born a Lubavitcher," began Mrs. Penina Salhov of Kiryat Atta, one
of the prominent women in N’shei Chabad. "I come from a traditional home.
I married and expected to have a house full of mischievous little children, yet
my future was not as rosy as I anticipated. One year passed and then another.
Four years went by and the house was silent. Eight long years passed and the
table was still set for two.
Shabbos I resolved that I would begin dressing modestly. My husband was shocked.
He thought I’d lost it, but comforted himself thinking it would pass and I
would forget about it. But I didn’t forget. The next day I threw out all my
clothes that were unsuitable for a Jewish woman and bought a new wardrobe. That
was my first step towards a full Jewish life.
thereafter I met a lovely woman by the name of Chana Abramowitz. She told me she
belonged to Chabad ("Chabad – what is that?" I asked her) and for
the first time I heard about the work of N’shei Chabad and the Shifra-Puah
organization. She asked me for my help and I volunteered to lend a hand, but it
was hard – not physically, but emotionally. I would go to the home of a new
mother and see the baby in the crib, experience the joy in the home, and would
wonder when I would have children of my own.
5749, at the height of the elections, a man on the street gave me a picture of
the Rebbe, the famous one in which the Rebbe is smiling and waving. I gladly
took the picture and brought it home and put it in the dining area.
don’t know why, but each time I passed the picture I felt the Rebbe giving me
strength in my resolution to be modest. It wasn’t easy for me, and my husband
still hoped it would be a passing phase. The Rebbe’s picture gave me the
strength to persevere.
day while sitting in the living room, I looked at the picture and suddenly knew
what I had to do. I had to go meet the Rebbe! My husband was unimpressed, and I
was disappointed at how he dismissed my desire to see the great tzaddik.
cried a lot that night. When my husband tried to speak, to explain, to
understand, I had only one answer for him. "I want to go to the Rebbe, to
get a bracha for a baby!"
approached Rabbi Diskin, the rav of the Lubavitcher community in Kiryat
Atta. He tried to help me by calling Rabbi Eliezer Tzeitlin of Tzfas, who
organized groups to 770 for Lag B’Omer. Rabbi Tzeitlin said he was booked up
and I was so disappointed.
Wednesday evening Rabbi Diskin called. "One of the ladies cancelled – now
you can go," he said, somewhat reluctantly.
I nearly shrieked, wondering why he sounded hesitant. "When does the flight
he answered, and that’s when I understood why he hesitated.
Could I be here today and in America tomorrow? Then my practical side kicked in.
Just one minute. Do I have something to wear? Yes. Do I have a suitcase? Yes. A
passport? Yes. A visa? No!
I don’t have a visa," I heard myself say to Rabbi Diskin.
the end we decided I would go to the American Consulate the next day (the day of
the flight!) and if I could obtain a visa I would go. In my heart I knew that
visa or no visa, I had to be on that plane!
secretary at the consulate was very nice. "No problem. It’s all taken
care of." I breathed a sigh of relief. "Come on Monday to pick it
up." She got up from her seat, smiled politely, and called the next person
Was that my voice that was so audible in that quiet room? Everybody
turned to look at me, but despite my embarrassment I continued talking.
"You don’t understand. I can’t wait until Monday because my flight is
she asked in surprise. "Why did you leave it to the last minute? I can’t
give you a visa unless you bring your ticket with you. Then I could send you to
the department for emergency requests.
filled my eyes and I left the consulate. I called Rabbi Tzeitlin’s travel
agency and explained what had happened. The ticket was still in Tzfas; they had
planned to give it to me that night in the airport.
had mercy on me and the travel agent sent me to Tower Air, which was right near
the consulate, where I got a ticket for the flight that night. I raced back
happily to the consulate, but the ever-so-polite guard informed me that the
consulate was closed.
could see secretaries still inside and boldly said, "But the woman said I
should come back."
woman?" he asked with a look that said he didn’t quite believe me.
I stuck my head in and yelled. "Right – you told me to bring you the
ticket?" Once again I was surprised by how loud my voice was, and again
everybody there stared curiously at me.
half an hour I left the building with the visa in my hand.
was a magical world, the likes of which I had never experienced before in my
life. The t’fillos, the farbrengens, the non-stop stream of
visitors, and of course the highlight – standing in line for dollars, knowing
that I would get to see the Rebbe and receive a dollar and a bracha from
dollars added up, and by the end of my visit I had eleven dollars in my wallet
that the Rebbe had given me on various occasions. I guarded them like a
B’Omer was approaching. Preparations for the parade were under way. It poured,
and it looked like it would never stop. I was standing in 770 when I overheard
two women speaking.
don’t have children yet, right?"
know that today is Lag B’Omer? You should make an effort to get a bracha for
children from the Rebbe today."
can I meet the Rebbe?"
for the Rebbe near the mikva on Union Street before he goes to the Ohel."
is the Rebbe going to be there?"
didn’t hear the end of her question because I was on my way to the mikva on
Union Street. The storm outside didn’t bother me, and the puddles that
soaked my feet didn’t stop me. I knew only one thing – that the conversation
I overheard was incredible hashgacha pratis and that I had to get to
Union St. before the Rebbe did. The success of my entire visit to Crown Heights
depended on this moment!
got to the mikva building drenched and trembling both from the cold and
emotion. The Rebbe arrived. I don’t remember approaching him, but I heard my
voice cry out, "Rebbe, I want children!"
Rebbe smiled at me and gave me a bracha. I don’t remember how I got
back to Eastern Parkway and got a spot to see the parade. It seemed miraculous.
I ran through the streets ecstatically. I paid no attention to beeping cars, to
people yelling, to red lights. All I could see before me was the Rebbe blessing
me on Lag B’Omer with children.
parade began. Just as the Rebbe came out, the rain stopped. Just like that. The
drops seemed to simply hang suspended in the air, waiting in awe for the Rebbe
to begin speaking.
after Lag B’Omer, our group passed by the Rebbe. I represented the families
who had sent panim to the Rebbe with requests for children. They all
received two dollars, but the Rebbe gave me four.
woman came over to me and suggested that I do my part in bringing down the Rebbe’s
bracha. How? I asked. She pointed at a store with baby furniture and said
I should buy a carriage. It was nervy, but I wanted to do it. I knew I would be
explaining to my husband what I had experienced at 770, but I wondered how I
would explain this! I pictured his face as he met me at the airport and saw me
leaving customs pushing an empty baby carriage. Instead of a carriage I decided
to buy an adorable baby outfit that I hid among my clothes in my suitcase.
returned home, and after everything I described, even my husband became hopeful,
as I had prayed he would. He agreed to buy a carriage, but I was not allowed to
tell anyone about it. For me this was the beginning of the realization of the
night while my husband was asleep, I would take the carriage out, bring it over
to the Rebbe’s picture and whisper: In a little while I will use you b’simcha.
In a little while, the Rebbe’s bracha will be fulfilled and you will
carry a little baby from place to place. You’ll see!
night for a year I looked longingly at the carriage and davened to Hashem
for a baby. Then the miracle took place…
week passed and I fainted and needed intravenous solution. The pregnancy was
difficult and the doctors recommended an ultrasound to see what was going on.
The doctor looked at the picture and asked for my husband. I couldn’t breathe.
The doctor cleared his throat and then, after what seemed like an eternity, he
said, "No wonder the pregnancy is so difficult. She’s carrying
twins." Suddenly I remembered the Rebbe giving everybody two dollars, but
four dollars to me!
pregnancy continued with many difficulties. One day the doctor was concerned
because he heard only one heartbeat. They hospitalized me and we sent an urgent
fax to the Rebbe. In a subsequent examination, the doctor couldn’t understand
why I had been hospitalized. "Who said there’s no heartbeat?" she
asked. From my bed I told her, "There really wasn’t a heartbeat, but the
Lubavitcher Rebbe made it happen!"
the difficulties during my pregnancy it continued successfully, and with a heart
overflowing with gratitude to Hashem who blessed me with two beautiful babies, I
gave birth to a boy and a girl. I felt it was fitting that Yud Shvat was the day
of my son’s bris.