By Toby Lieder, Australia
When I was 14 I had a vision. Not the hocus pocus type of vision, but a very real future vision in my life ahead of me, how I saw myself many years later. I envisioned myself with a very large family with lots and lots of kids, at least ten, sitting around the big white Shabbos table, with lots of guests!
I love children. I looked forward to raising a beautiful, happy, very exciting large family of children. That was my vision as a very young girl.
After I got married and had 2 children, both born by caesarean a year and a half apart, my doctor told me, “your next child will definitely have to be a caesarean too!”
How many caesareans can one have? After all, back in those days (1980) they let you have one or 2 more maximum!
I became pregnant with my third child a year and a half later, and of course the doctors set a date for the third baby’s arrival, a caesarean was scheduled.
It suddenly dawned on me, “Hey, am I going to have just 3 kids, and that’s it?” I couldn’t believe it. “There’s got to be a way to break through this challenge,” I thought.
“I can’t let this happen to me!” I told my husband. “It was my dream to have lots of kids, a large Shabbos table laden with a beautiful white tablecloth, lots of Shabbos candles, and all my kids of all ages singing, laughing and playing.”
This was when I was 5 months pregnant, with 2 little kids at my side, in a red Peg Prego double stroller. I can still feel the heat of the day, both physically and emotionally, as if it were today, right now.
770 was overcrowded, and in order for the overflow of women to be able to hear the Rebbe addressing the women’s convention that very hot day in May, loudspeakers were hooked up outside 770 to enable over 100 women outside 770 to hear the Rebbe’s saintly words.
“Women should have at least a minyan of children around their table,” said the Rebbe.
This was a first. For the Rebbe, a Tzadik, so holy, to talk about women having children, and to have many children, and at least a minyan. We all thought this is unusual; we have a Rebbe that talks about such modern things. Oh, how we were all shocked. The Rebbe continued talking, about the kind of things that were never spoken in public before.
That night, I sat shaking back and forth on my brown recliner, at precisely 9:30 p.m.
The kids were sleeping peacefully, my husband was preparing for his next day’s lessons, when I suddenly took a paper and started writing a letter to the Rebbe.
“Dear Rebbe,” I wrote, “Today the Rebbe spoke so intensely and emotionally about the importance of women having large families. I know how wonderful that can be, but Rebbe, my doctor told me I must have another caesarean and that is shattering all my dreams, because, I’m with you Rebbe on this, I want a large family but cannot have one, due to the limitations of how many operations I can have!”
I literally shed tears, and told the Rebbe so. I said, “Rebbe, as I write to you now, there are hot tears coming down my face because I cannot have my dream, and the Rebbe says we should have this dream!”
I cried and said, “Rebbe, please bless me at this time, that I should give birth in a natural and healthy way.”
The letter went in that night, and the next morning I received an answer from the Rebbe. The answer said, “Many people gave birth natural after caesarean, speak to your doctor about it!”
And then the Rebbe added, “I will bless and pray for you at the ohel.” And the Rebbe gave me his blessings.
When I spoke to my doctor about it, he said, “Oh! If the Lubavitcher Rebbe said so, ok, let’s go for it!”
After less than 2 hours of labor, my beautiful daughter was born naturally! And 11 more children, naturally!
And now, I finally had my dream come true, my vision became alive, when I would have the zchus of sitting around my very large Shabbos table with all my 14 children k”h laughing, playing, singing, and most of all, just being there.
The fun begins, when all the kids bring home a friend – just one friend – and the table just expands like the Beis Hamikdosh… it just stretches for everyone to have a place in our home.
The Rebbe’s home!