2 Kislev 5778 / Monday, November 20, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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The Three-Way Thing    

The Three-Way Thing

One of my clients is a woman from Texas who wants to have a baby but her husband is worried about the expense; apparently, no one ever told him about the three-way thing...


One of my clients is a woman from Texas who wants to have a baby but her husband doesn't let. They already have a five year old and her husband wants to wait until they are making more money before having child number two.


He is a successful businessman and my client works part-time. In her opinion money is not a problem.


So what is?


It reminds me of the time my husband and I flew to America to be with my mother in law, who was in the last stages of cancer. We took our three little boys, ages four, two and three weeks so that Grandma Lilly could see them before she died.


We spent six weeks in Livonia, Michigan where my husband spent most of the day at the hospital while the kids and I stayed in the house where he grew up.


Except for the reason we were there, it was a very pleasant experience for me. I had a big house all to myself, lots of food and the kids could watch cartoons whenever I needed a break.


As far as I could see, there were no other kids on the block. When we took ours for a walk, people stopped to admire them and I felt proud of my little sons. Everyone seemed impressed that we could handle three children, so close in age. How did we manage, they all wanted to know and I knew that some people thought we were nuts.


Someone from the neighborhood dropped by one morning to ask how my mother-in-law was doing. She was a pretty woman, a little older than me and could not take her eyes off my baby. She asked me if she could hold him and I was happy to oblige.


As she gently rocked my infant she confided in me that she was longing for a baby but her husband wasn't ready. “Do you know the cost of college today?” he would ask, “Do you have any idea how much it takes to raise a child?”


She looked in wonder as my two other kids came up from the basement. “Wow!” she said, ”You are so lucky! Wow! Three kids!”


I explained that we believed that if God blesses us with children He will help us care for them. “It's three way thing” I said. “A partnership. We're not in it alone.”


“That's a beautiful thought but it won't work for us. My husband is very practical,” she said. “He needs to have enough money in the bank first. You are really lucky.” she sighed, “Really lucky.”


I felt sorry for her. Imagine having to wait for complete financial security to have a child. That could take so long! But with a strong belief in God it is possible to let go, whether or not one feels one hundred per cent ready and despite doubts about having “enough.”  You do your best to be responsible but you don't live in a holding pattern until you've got the perfect set up.


I don't have to be afraid of the future, I don't have to have a foolproof plan.


I suddenly appreciated my husband's emuna too. When I would tell him another child was on the way he was always delighted, even though money was an issue. In those days, he worked as a school teacher and wrote/illustrated children's books. We lived on a settlement where life was inexpensive and if I wanted cash I helped friends clean their houses or worked in the kindergarten. We struggled, we managed, it was hard and we made it. It wasn't fun and it's not romantic. Poverty doesn't necessarily make you spiritual or develop your character. But it can.


And raising kids without lots of money can build great kids, if you handle it right.


Rav Arush teaches us to be very careful about how we speak about money near our children. To complain or to argue about finances in their presence is very detrimental. To show that we are sad or worried about our bills can make children insecure and could create within them a strong desire for wealth. They may reject a Torah lifestyle if they equate it with financial misery.


Instead we need to model happiness with whatever we have and to teach kids the ability to wait for things they want. To appreciate the blessings that money can't buy.


And to learn the value of sharing. No one is too poor to give in some way.


In order to successfully model those things you have to work on yourself to feel them. It's not as easy for some people as for others, a lot depends on your past and on your genuine spiritual level. But it is an outlook worth millions.


Hashem has improved our situation over the years. We have married off several children and so have our friends, who are also not rich. We have all experienced the miracle of Divine Intervention.


My husband's Rav taught us that if parents really want to give to their kids, Hashem will help them. I saw this over and over. Somehow we managed to buy our kids toys, to pay for summer camp, to afford tuition and to make weddings.


I feel sorry for my client from Texas. Nothing gives this woman greater pleasure than being a mom. And she sounds like such a good one! Her yearning is a true yearning, as a woman is created to be a mother. How sad and unfortunate that her husband insists on amassing more money before granting her heart's desire. Even if he does amass a fortune, Hashem can remove it in a thousand ways. God is the One who enriches and the One who makes poor. This pitiful husband has the illusion that his money is providing security.


As true believers, how fortunate we are (how lucky!) to have the real security we need. For free, forever, for real.  



* * *

Rebbitzen Yehudit Channen began her career as a Crisis Intervention Counselor in Silver Spring, Md. in the seventies. After moving to Israel, she worked as a marital mediator and social skills instructor for kids. Following the death of a son, Rebbitzen Channen became a certified bereavement counselor and worked with young mothers who had suffered loss. Most recently she worked at the Melabev Center for the memory-impaired, as an activity director and group facilitator for families coping with Dementia.  The Rebbitzen has written for numerous magazines and newspapers and recently led an interactive creative writing course called Connective Writing. Yehudit Channen is the wife of Rabbi Don Channen, Rosh Yeshiva of Keter HaTorah.  They are blessed to have nine children and many grandchildren and live in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Today, Rebbitzen Yehudit Channen is a certified Emuna Therapist for Breslev Israel. You can set up an appointment with her by contacting staff@breslev.co.il 

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