The whole of Jerusalem was in an uproar! A well-known man, a Belzer chasid, and his wife had just given birth to their first child — a boy — after being childless for twenty-eight years! The Shalom Zachor party that Friday night was the event of the year. Well over a thousand people came by to wish Mazel Tov to the proud but exhausted father. The food supply ran out in short order as did the drinks, but no one seemed to mind.

Well over a thousand people came by to wish Mazel Tov to the proud but exhausted father.

At the height of the celebration, the crowd quieted down as the father indicated that he would like to say a few words. "Thank you all for coming and sharing in our joyous occasion," he began in a loud voice. "Although I have no more food to offer, let me at least tell a true story which I'm sure you'll appreciate."

The ecstatic new father composed himself and continued. "When I was a youth learning in the Belzer Yeshiva, there was a cleaning lady who would come by every day to tidy up and scrub the Beis Medrash study hall and adjoining rooms. She was a fixture in the yeshiva and devoted her life to maintaining the building. She was, however, not a wealthy person by any stretch and as her own family grew, she was at a loss of options as far as taking care of her children. She decided to bring her kids with her to work, and as she cleaned and mopped in one area of the building, the young children would run amuck, screaming, crying and generally causing quite a commotion, in the rest of the yeshiva.

"At first, we put up with it; we even thought it was cute for a time. But after a while, the kids really began to significantly disturb us in our learning and prayers. Try as we might to control them, they wouldn't listen, but just continued on in their childish games and noise. A number of the younger students asked me, as one of the oldest in the yeshiva, to ask her not to bring her children anymore to work with her.

"I agreed. Brazenly I walked up to her and told her that her kids were constantly disturbing everyone in the yeshiva and she should find some sort of alternative method of child-care for them. I'll never forget how she looked at me with tired eyes and said, ‘Young man, you should never have tzar gidul banim' (the pain and anguish that one goes through when raising children.)"

‘Young man, you should never have tzar gidul banim.'

The crowd gasped. The father continued.

"As many of you know, my wife and I have been to countless doctors who recommended every sort of treatment. We moved abroad for awhile to be near an 'expert,' but this proved to be fruitless. One last, extreme treatment was offered and after trying that, it too, turned out to be just a fantasy. We felt doomed to a life without the pleasure of raising a a genuine Jewish family.

"After that last attempt, as we walked back into the apartment that we lived in for the past twenty-eight years, our entire sad situation hit us full force, like a ton of bricks. Together, we broke down crying, trying to figure out why G‑d was testing us this way.

"All of a sudden, I remembered the episode with the cleaning lady and the "blessing" she had given me. It occurred to me to try and reach her and ask for forgiveness. But after all these years, who knows where she would be?

"I spent hours on the phone until I came up with an address, which I ran over to immediately. She did not recognize me, of course, but when I told her over the story, a spark flickered in her eyes. I tearfully apologized for my harsh words and she graciously forgave me with her whole heart."

Beaming from ear to ear, the father announced, "Friends, that took place exactly nine months ago!"

Connection to weekly Torah reading: Decades of childlessness

Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from a March 2006 post on:

Copyright 2003 by All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.