18 Iyar 5779 / Thursday, May 23, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bechukotai
 
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Beards and Babies    

Beards and Babies



The beard, according to the Zohar, is a channel for Divine compassion; that's just what Eliezer's wife needed moments before she was about to have a C-section...

 



What if you could simply pop a pill to gain SUPER-POWERS? When facing trying times, Rachamim (Compassion/Mercy) is one of the best attributes we could ever dream of being blessed with. Since a beard represents G-d’s flow through this channel, I wanted to jump on board the facial hair train, but my wife was not as excited. In fact, she threatened to shave half my face off in the middle of the night if it was not all gone by the time Pesach came around. I was thrilled to have been blessed with at least a half of year of growth, cherishing each day’s Heavenly connection.

 

Hashem is hilarious. For whatever ‘logical’ reason, my wife was pregnant with twins during the period that my beard was growing. Her literal mass exodus from the womb (on Passover!) was going to be the final presentation of my beard.

 

My wife was arguing day in and day out with her doctor about trying to deliver our twins naturally. The “rule” is that when a lower twin baby is breach (bottom down, instead of head down), no doctor is willing to risk performing a natural delivery. Although she scheduled surgery for the third day of Pesach, she was extremely upset and stressed about the definite probability of having a C-section.

 

We heard a piece of advice from several Rabbis that on Pesach, specifically during the Seder at night, and precisely during the Mah Nishtana (kids asking 4 questions on why this night is different from all others), there is an opening for requests to be answered at that auspicious moment. Just as parents must be ready to answer their children’s questions at that time, G-d stands with his Heavenly gates wide open, ready to fulfill all his children’s’ requests. Even though NO ONE in the family knew we planned a surgery (because we were going to surprise everyone, even our parents, that we were having our second set of twins!), my wife and I paused the Seder and silently prayed our hearts out to Hashem to work some kind of miracle.

 

The next morning, first day of Chol Hamoed, we drove over to the hospital for the scheduled operation. The night before, my wife had some unusual extra discomfort around her lower belly but passed it off as pregnancy discomforts / cramping. As we were being wheeled into the operating room to undergo the C-section, my wife grabbed the nurse by the arm and asked if she could please do one more scan to check the positioning of the babies, particularly the bottom one, which had been feet down for the past nine months without fail. Although an ultrasound was just performed three days prior (and the lower baby was, as usual, in the breach position), she readily agreed to oblige my wife’s request.

 

As soon as she probed my wife’s belly, the technician noted that the bottom baby was head down. “WHAT??!!!!” My wife screamed. “Are you sure?! Let me see!!” As clear as day, that stubborn bottom baby was no longer breach and had miraculously flipped at the 11th hour. The surgery was immediately cancelled and the natural birthing process was underway. At that life-changing moment, my wife looked up at me with a grin on her face and uttered the amazing five words that forever changed the look of my face, “You can keep the beard.”

 

My wife does not claim to even remotely like the way it physically looks on my face (although my guy friends absolutely love it). However, it is much more than superficiality that we strive for. When something external reflects how we feel and connect deep down inside, we want others to understand what we are about. People comment that when life is tough they have nowhere to go because they are ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place.’ We now understand that all is still fine and dandy because Hashem IS the rock and the hard place too. The beard, to us, represents an understanding that no matter how ominous the odds may seem against us, we know that when compassion and mercy is needed, we have superpowers in our back pockets… or on the front of my face.





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