Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Last night I found a message on my machine from my brother H. in Israel. It must have been 6 in the morning in Israel when he left the exciting message. He had called to let us know that my sister-in-law gave birth to her twelfth child, a healthy baby girl. No, that is not a typo, she has six boys and six girls now and I would guess that, so long as G-d does not decide differently, she will keep going. We are always happy to hear when a healthy child has been gifted to our family. My brother and sister-in-law were faced with a different situation when they had baby number 11. She was born with a deformed arm, shorter than normal and missing fingers. She has had surgeries and undergoes therapy, but other than that, she is, thank G-d a typical lively two year old girl.

My brother called my home, also looking for my parents. However, they were in New Jersey at my sister's, a pit stop on the way to Israel for their first grandchild's wedding. So I took the liberty of contacting my parents to give them the good news. They were obviously happy to hear that everyone is healthy and well, and then my parents dumped some other, not so easy to digest news on me. My sister M. who also lives in Israel, the one marrying off her son, just suffered a second trimester miscarriage. What a juxtaposition!!! My parents only found this out through a fourth party. My brother D. who also lives in Israel, told my sister R. in NJ and she told my parents.

(I should point out that I am one of seven kids. Four siblings live in Israel, one sister in New Jersey and another brother and I live in Chicago.)

My sister M. has, thank the good Lord, ten healthy children, and that by itself is a miracle. Shortly after my sister had her first baby (the one getting married) she was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and required intervention. Because my mom still had three young kids at home (I was thirteen at the time, my younger brother was nine), she could not go help my sister in Israel, but rather, brought my sister into Chicago to undergo treatment. My parents took on the role as caregiver to her baby, even having him sleep in their room, in addition to taking my sister to the hospital for her treatments and caring for her. After a few months of radiation, my sister was cleared of Cancer and returned home to Israel.

After many more healthy children, my sister began to notice problems with her posture and neck muscles. After seeing many Doctors, she was told she had some kind of muscle degeneration, probably due to all the radiation she received years earlier. It was suggested to my sister, by the Doctors, that she might consider not having more children. But my sister, being who she is, a woman of tremendous faith, decided to leave that in the hands of G-d, and continued to have a few more healthy children. However, this is not the first miscarriage she unfortunately has suffered. All this causes me to ponder the balance between making choices with consideration to our faith and belief or hoping that G-d will make the choice for us altogether.

It's like the old joke about a torrential down pour which was creating flood like conditions. Everyone was evacuating the area except for Sam. When the water was surrounding just Sam's ankles, a car came for him and told him to get in and he would be safe. But Sam said, "No thanks, the Almighty above will save me". When the water rose to his knees, a bus came for Sam and offered to take him to dry land. But Sam said, "No thanks, G-d will save me". The water was circling his waist and a ship came and motioned for Sam to come aboard to a safer area. But Sam said, "No thanks, I have 100% faith in the One above". It got really serious when Sam was neck deep in water. A helicopter came and lowered it's ladder and told Sam to hop on. But Sam waved it off, because after all, The Good Lord was going to come through for Sam. Well minutes later Sam drowned and his spirit rose through the pearly gates of heaven and Sam found himself standing before G-d, and he asked, "My Father in heaven, I put all my faith in You, I expected You to save me, what happened? To which G-d replied, "Sam, you fool, who do you think sent you the car, the bus, the ship, the helicopter?"

How do we know when we should accept a suggestion, a hint, a "sign" if you will as just that. Or should we consider that G-d is sending us an indirect, direct message? No woman wants to be told she can't have children. Should women who are informed they have infertility take that as a message from G-d that they will never have children? Should they then, NOT try a multitude of fertility treatments. Or maybe fertility treatment itself is help sent by G-d.

Should my sister accept the Doctor's suggestion and the unfortunate miscarriages as a message from G-d to close this chapter in her life. If she did, she wouldn't have had the last few healthy children that she had.

I don't know what the right answer is here. I don't know if there is even a right or wrong answer. I think it all goes back to how much of this world is pre-determined vs. how much freedom of choice we have. All I know is, this world is hanging on a string and G-d is holding the other end of that string. One day my sister suffers a second trimester miscarriage, two weeks later she is walking her eldest son down the aisle at his wedding. One day my sister-in-law is taking her two year old daughter to surgery to create a makeshift opposing thumb, a few months later she is fortunate to welcome a healthy baby girl into the world. We are humans riding a yo-yo. All we can do is count our blessings and hold on to hope and faith.

0 have shown Orah a little love: