Monday, July 16, 2007

Who Gives Children?

In a throwaway line in a post commenting about a story in a post at DixieYid, I wrote:
About a chassid who thinks that beseeching a Rebbe, rather than Hashem, is the way to be blessed with children.
Of course, as DixieYid pointed out in a comment, the chassid may well have davened as well, but in a desperate situation reached out to the tzaddik as well, knowing that tzaddikim can change gezerot.

It is quite plausible. It was just something about the chossid's insistence, and about Rebbe-centrism in general (which I've been on a roll with recently) that made me view it differently.

This past Shabbos, I heard a different Rebbe story -- I don't remember which -- about a chossid who was beseeching his Rebbe to give him a bracha that he should have children. The Rebbe refused.

Broken, the chossid said "I guess I can only pray to Hashem to have children, and did so." At that point, the Rebbe said "now I can give you a bracha."

And that story was still echoing in my head.

A parallel case where someone asked a tzaddik for help having children, in an instance where it actually was more practically in the tzaddik's control, but still not entirely. The tzaddik's reply in Bereishit 30:
א וַתֵּרֶא רָחֵל, כִּי לֹא יָלְדָה לְיַעֲקֹב, וַתְּקַנֵּא רָחֵל, בַּאֲחֹתָהּ; וַתֹּאמֶר אֶל-יַעֲקֹב הָבָה-לִּי בָנִים, וְאִם-אַיִן מֵתָה אָנֹכִי. 1 And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob: 'Give me children, or else I die.'
ב וַיִּחַר-אַף יַעֲקֹב, בְּרָחֵל; וַיֹּאמֶר, הֲתַחַת אֱלֹהִים אָנֹכִי, אֲשֶׁר-מָנַע מִמֵּךְ, פְּרִי-בָטֶן. 2 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel; and he said: 'Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?'


1 comment:

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

The story you quote is a good one and a true point. I understand where you're coming from; a background where the importance of connecting one's self to a Tzadik is not a major part of Yiddishkeit at all. I think that a story like that should be read and understood in the context in which it took place, Chassidus. In that philosophy, connecting one's self to a Tzadik is a major aspect of life. For more info on that path, see Rebbe Nachman's Likutei Moharan 4. Tizku l'mitzvos.

-Dixie Yid


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