After supper, Elchanan returns to Yeshiva, and Beruriah is alone again. She and the quiet. A torturous and lonely quiet. She already put in a load with a few items, the living room is orderly, the gleaming kitchen counters stare back at her, and in the sink lay two cups and a spoon that she is not in the mood of washing. She will rinse them when they want to drink coffee in the morning.
Beruriah doesn’t want to get ready for bed. She doesn’t want another night of silence, with the other bedroom empty, and an empty space in her heart.
“Maybe you can learn here in the evenings?” she says to Elchanan when he comes home close to midnight.
He looks at her with pain in his eyes. “I don’t understand why I didn’t think of that myself,” he apologizes. “You are right. Why should you stay alone?”
Why should she stay alone? Why should they stay alone, unlike their brothers and sisters and neighbors who are busy, bli ayin hara, and only their home is desolate?
This is a terrible pain, a constant pain, and someone who wasn’t there will never understand. A hope that is shattered again and again and again until there is no strength to hope anymore. Your whole heart is taken up by a burning desire, and there are so, so many empty hours without anything to take your mind off of it and dull the pain.
The house in Shunem was also gripped by this pain. Ribono shel Olam! How much can a person take? Year after year, and no children. Your heart is seized by a cold and paralyzing fear: and what if we won’t ever have…? Not even one little Kaddish’l?
One day, Elisha Hanavi came to her house, and promised the Shunamite woman that at this time next year, she will be hugging a baby boy.
She was taken aback. אַל תְּכַזֵּב בְּשִׁפְחָתֶךָ – Why are you fooling me? Why try to ignite the hope that I managed to supress? I don’t want to want at all, if I am shattered again, I won’t have the strength to get up.
A year went by, and the miracle occurred: a baby was born and the house was filled with light. A soft whimper, and a bris milah! A true Jewish child with a neshamah from Shamayim!
And from then on, the miracle is hovering over that place, waiting.
On Erev Shavu’os, the emissaries of Vaad Harabbanim will go up the house of the Shunamite woman to reawaken that miracle through an additional segulah revealed by Rav Chaim Palagi. They have been going for several years already, and davening there, and then the most moving yeshu’os stories pour in.
“On Erev Shavu’os” – writes Rav Chaim Palagi zechuso yagen aleinu, according to Kabbalistic calculations – “One should set aside ninety-one perutos and then add more until it adds up to twice the gematriya of ב”ן. Then one should give them to a poor and humble talmid chacham… it is a segulah for those in need of children, and it hastens the Ge’ulah.”
Hundreds of parents are waiting and looking forward to this Ma’amad Tefilah. Fathers and mothers who did not yet merit hugging their child, their own child. They walk as quickly as they can past the shelves of diapers and baby bottles at the supermarket, and their hearts flutter when they see a soft cushy blanket. They smile at all their nephews and at children in the street and cry into their pillows at night when no one is looking.
On Erev Shavu’os, new hope will be born for them! The emissaries of Vaad Harabbanim, fine avreichim who are close to Hashem, will go up specially to Beis Hashunamis in order to perform the segulah as prescribed by Rav Chaim Palagi. They will set aside your 104 coins for hundreds of poor, humble talmidei chachamim, and then will beg Hashem on behalf of the couples waiting for children, and for any donor who is in need of a yeshu’ah.
They will come the next day, too, on Shavu’os morning, after a full night’s learning. And the day after that, and another day. They will knock on the doors of Heaven, cry out to the Master of Souls. They will persist until they bring to another Jewish home the most precious gift in the world: a child. A house in happy disarray and toys on the floor.
How many babies were born after the yearly Ma’amad Tefilah at Beis Shumanamis? We stopped counting, bli ayin hara. The Mazel Tovs that come into the offices of Vaad Harabbanim bring tears to our eyes every time.
Beruriah is taking in the brochure of Vaad Harabbanim from her mailbox. A baby is smiling at her from its pages and bringing tears to her eyes. “We need to be there,” she calls Elchanan, all worked up. “How could I have missed this brochure all these years! I want to donate, Elchanan. I must!”
Elchanan agrees. He agrees to everything that will make his wife happy, without needing to know what and why. The main thing is that she should be happy.
Now, as Beruriah puts her little prince in his new carriage and Elchanan gazes at his treasure, he is so happy – he understands exactly what happened there, at the Tefilah of Vaad Harabbanim at Beis Hashunamis. The Ribono Shel Olam took the key to life and opened the door for them. They, too, became father and mother.
We all know couples waiting for children, and this year, let’s not just give a sigh; let’s do something for them. Let’s give a donation of $104 and send their names to the Tefilah at Beis Hashunamis. Let’s request that they daven for us, too, because no tefilah is uneeded, and Rav Chaim Palagi wrote that a donation of 104 hastens the Ge’ulah…
And the Yeshu’ah will come! Just as it shone on so many homes waiting for children. Bris milah, blessed tiredness, the cry of a baby, indescribable, sublime pleasure. This year, too, the melody of soft, angelic whimpers will be heard. The most beautiful voices in the world…