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Blessing for Children
by Rafi BenAmi*

Twenty years ago, after an exhausting tour of military duty in the Israeli Air Force, I arrived in New York. Like many Israelis of my age group at that time, I decided that I wanted to have a little breather from the pressure-filled atmosphere of Israel, take a vacation in New York, and also make some money. The Rebbe

I quickly adapted to the American way of life and found work as a limousine driver. I had this job over a period of several years. One day, a friend of mine introduced me to a Jewish girl of Syrian descent, who lived in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. After a while, we decided to get married.

This was the happiest time of my life. I had the wonderful feeling that everything was good on all fronts. I had a good wife, earning a good living – who could ask for anything more?

 Yet, over the passage of time, it started to bother us that while we had been married for several years, we still had no children. We wanted to be parents very much, and we had visited many prominent doctors at various leading clinics – but nothing seemed to help.

Even while still in Israel, I had heard the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as an outstanding leader, whose advice was sought by leading politicians and other public figures. We heard numerous miracle stories, not necessarily involving religious Jews.

I heard that the Rebbe gave out dollars every Sunday for charity and a blessing. I made regular trips to see the Rebbe and receive a dollar. While I wasn’t given time to speak to him, his image, his every movement, and especially his eyes captivated me. Deep within me, I knew that this was not your average rabbinical figure.

Months and years went by, and my wife and I had still not been privileged to have children. As a result, I decided to go to the Rebbe again. No matter what, I would ask him for a blessing for children. I knew that it would be difficult to speak to the Rebbe, but I also knew that no one could stop me.

The following Sunday, I arrived in Crown Heights. As on every other occasion, I spent several hours waiting in line. I eventually got closer to the Rebbe, and soon found myself standing in front of him. The Rebbe gave me a dollar, and blessed me with ‘Bracha v’hatzlacha’ (blessing and success). As in the past, before I had a chance to open my mouth, I was pushed towards the doorway.

My eyes filled with tears. I stood outside and I tried again to enter. I tried to convince the person who was ushering me through that I must speak with the Rebbe. I explained that I don’t want to trouble the Rebbe; I only want to request a blessing for a child. However, he remained firm and did not respond to my pleas.

I did not relent. No matter what, I would not move from the Rebbe’s threshold without a blessing.

The argument continued for maybe about half a minute, when suddenly I noticed that they were calling me. I soon realized that it was the Rebbe who was calling me, and the confusion turned into embarrassment. I was certain that the Rebbe had heard our argument. But I didn’t have much time to think, and in a matter of seconds, I was standing before the Rebbe again.

“Did you want to request something?” the Rebbe asked.

In a voice choking with emotion, I told the Rebbe that I have been married for several years, and still had no children. The Rebbe gave me a fatherly look, then handed me one dollar for myself, a second dollar for my wife, and a third dollar for the child that ‘will be born in the near future.’

 I was both moved and overwhelmed. I kissed the Rebbe’s hand. I had almost left when the Rebbe suddenly told me that I should try to give three coins to charity every day.

Less than three months later, I was informed that my wife was pregnant. Since then, I have been stringent, no matter where I am, to keep my promise to the Rebbe and set aside three coins for charity every day.

In good time, my wife gave birth to a baby boy, whom we named Ben E-l.  I clearly felt that this child had been given to me from G-d, a gift above and beyond nature in the merit of his messenger, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.


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