(these are the rough comments delivered, I really modified my prepared remarks)
Last time I gave a speech at a naming was for Nava. That time I had plenty of time to prepare and really polish it.
This time around hasn’t been quite the same.
The new babies are not the only thing that was new this past week. Last Shabbos was actually our 7th wedding anniversary on the English calendar. Four kids in seven years sounds pretty normal, no?
Rebecca and I have been truly blessed. Rebecca was admitted to the hospital in October at 25 weeks and 1 day.
There was an imminent fear of a very very early delivery, which could have been disastrous for the kids.
Rebecca stayed in the hospital, on bed rest, for 68 days. At one point, one of the babies, Baby A, was in very grave danger.
I remember davening on the first Rosh Chodesh – ‘Please Hashem, let us get to the next Rosh Chodesh.’
And then we made it to the next Rosh Chodesh. I was delighted. And I remember davening – ‘Perhaps it is too much to ask, but perhaps could we make it to the next Rosh Chodesh too?’
And then we did.
Hashem enabled us to stay in the hospital for 68 days. And this Tuesday, 3 healthy babies were delivered at 34 weeks and 6 days – and all of them at home for Shabbos.
When I think about children, I like to reflect on something that happened after I gave the most emotional speech of my life, at Nava’s Kiddush in our shul in Australia.
We had been trying to have kids for a number of years, and the way Nava came about was our own little miracle.
It was an Az Yashir moment – it had been difficult so that it could be clear to us how much of a miracle it was.
After I made that speech, one of the bochurim in the shul came up to me and said he had read of a great Rabbi, I forget who, asking why G-d often makes having children so difficult.
I was expecting the standard answer, which I had heard many many times and which I really don’t like – which is that G-d desires the prayers of righteous women. That answer makes G-d look capricious and cruel, and places a form of blame on the mothers.
But his answer was different. He said, “Because some Neshamas are so holy they take a little more convincing before they’ll come down.”
And when you look at Yitzchak, and Shimshon and Yosef you see great souls.
Their mother’s were great enough to merit them as children – but even so, they required some convincing to come down.
It is a beautiful approach to a classic question.
Parents love to show off their kids, and we’re no exception. We think Nava has a beautiful Neshama. When it comes to being Torah Observant, Nava does pretty well.
I’m sure you’ve seen her running around with her little bencher.
She davens, she lights candles, she benches after every meal, she says amen to brachot and will even start them off herself. To top it off, she’s an all around good girl.
We have no idea where she got it from.
We can’t help but think, though, it took so much davening to convince one neshama to come down.
And then Nava arrives and sets up shop and next thing you know we have three additional babies on the way.
Maybe, after the triplets, she ought to cut back on the davening a bit J
In the Shemona Esrai, well actually, just after the end of it, we have the opportunity to add a little personal prayer. Immediately after this we say:
“Ose lema’an shemecha, Ose lema’an yiminecha, Ose lema’an toratehca, Ose lema’an Kdushasecha”
“Do it for the sake of your name, do it for the sake of your right hand, do it for the sake of your Torah, do it for the sake of your holiness.”
We aren’t just beseeching G-d, we’re telling him that the blessings we receive will be to his benefit – that we will use the blessings we receive in the service of Hashem.
I can’t think of any greater blessing, or thing to pray for, than children.
When I daven for children, I daven for the opportunity to raise them as credits to Hakodesh Baruch Hu – as walking, talking Kiddushei Hashem.
As children whose Torah and Mitzvot and whose own families will serve as examples of the goodness of Hashem in this world.
Of these beautiful triplets, our little Yaira Merav was the last to be born, but the first to be named.
Yaira Merav means “She will illuminate to the max.”
Our aspiration for Yaera is that she should be an illumination of G-d’s goodness in this world. A light of G-dliness. Our prayer is that she will be a credit to the name of Hashem for many many years to come.
It would sure be easier on us J
Truly, Rebecca and I have been blessed.
We have been blessed not only by Hakodesh Baruch Hu, we have been blessed by our communities and families with amazing outpourings of support, assistance and prayers.
My mother-in-law, to give an example, has come from Australia to help out. But there are many others, too numerous to count.
If blessings received can be turned into blessings granted, then it is our fervent prayer that all those looking for their basherts be blessed with their discovery.
And it is our fervent prayer that all those struggling with barrenness be blessed with children – beautiful neshamot all, who just required a little more convincing than normal to come down.