Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL


Rabbi Rafi Rank Dear CyberRav,

It has been a happy while since you married my husband and me last year. We have been trying to conceive to no avail and were wondering if there is some ritual support you can lend on our behalf. Hope to hear back from you soon.

Longing for a Baby

Dear Longing for a Baby,

Good to hear from you. I am so sorry to hear that you have been having difficulty in conceiving. How frustrating!

I wish I knew of a ritual that could change this scenario. I wish I could give you a psalm to recite, or a food to eat, or an article of clothing to wear, that could change all this around. These kinds of magical rituals really don't exist and sometimes when people believe that they do exist, they can become severely disillusioned with religion and God when the desired results just don't materialize.

On the other hand, when we face challenges, as you do now, tapping into the power of God to help you persevere is really important. The question I might ask at a time like this would be whether there are any rituals that could help you and your husband tap into that divine energy, that power that surrounds us, to help you both in creating the family you so desire. Toward that end, I will make the following suggestions, just to heighten the energy of God in your hearts and your lives--

First, let me suggest that you put up a mezuzah on your bedroom door. If it already has one, put a mezuzah up somewhere else in your home. Make sure it's a brand new mezuzah that you find attractive with hand written parchment (kelaf, it is parchment on which the Shema is written) on the inside. The mezuzah on the bedroom door reminds us that God ought to be in our bedrooms as He is present everywhere else in our lives.

Secondly, the holiest declaration of faith in God is the Shema. We are told to recite the Shema both morning and evening. Try reciting the Shema, perhaps together with your husband, when you wake up and when you lie down at night. It is certainly a comforting way to both begin and finish the day. It is a way of saying that God is One and that we are a part of His oneness.

Finally, the most dramatic act you might consider is immersion in a mikveh. The mikveh is mayim hayim, living waters, always drawn from a spring or collected from the rains (which we certainly have had plenty of lately). Perhaps the time has come to surround yourself in mayim hayim, the living waters. Generally, women go at night, immerse themselves in the waters, say a blessing (the mikvah lady will help you with this) and return home. It's a very powerful mitzvah as it is a mitzvah that surrounds us and soaks through us.

As I say, these rituals don't solve your problem, but they do connect us with God and that connection helps us on all sorts of levels. Don't forget to consult your doctor with any question you may have about conception. There may be something that can be done medically or biologically that could help you in this regard as well.

Shalom, Shabbat Shalom, and I pray that you someday be blessed with the children you so desire.

Rabbi Rafi Rank


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