A couple who lived in Eretz Yisroel longed for children. It was already a number of years since they married and they were still childless. All their visits to doctors only caused them to despair even more because the doctors were pessimistic.
The couple went to rabbanim and Admurim and asked for brachos. They were given many blessings but still had no children.
They heard about the Rebbe and decided to go to him and ask for his blessing. A Chabad Chassid advised the man that it was worth going to the Rebbe for Rosh HaShana, a day when the Rebbe prays on behalf of the Jewish people and all their needs. It is also a day when we read in the Haftora about Chana being blessed with a child and so, there is no better time than this to ask for the Rebbe’s bracha.
The husband went. Before he left, he arranged a place to stay with a family in Crown Heights which a mutual friend had suggested. Upon arriving in New York, shortly before Rosh HaShana, he went to his host family.
The night of Rosh HaShana, during the meal, he told his hosts that he wanted to stand near the Rebbe during the shofar blowing so he could see better. He would feel closer to the Rebbe that way and maybe his heart’s desire would be heard better too.
His hosts gently explained that this was impossible because this moment is one of the most crowded in 770. Everyone wants to see the Rebbe at this elevated time. Furthermore, local residents had long since established places for themselves in years past.
“Still, if you really want it, you can get up very early and go to 770 and try to get a spot. Maybe you’ll be lucky.”
The guest woke up early on the first day of the year. He hurried to the mikva and then went to 770 to get a spot. How astonished he was to see that there were people there already.
He found a place from where he would have a good view of the Torah reading platform (bima).
The Rebbe was called up to the Torah. There was silence in the large beis midrash. The Rebbe began walking toward the bima while holding his siddur and shofars. Secretaries followed him, holding sacks full of pidyonei nefesh.
The Rebbe quietly read the Haftora. It was impossible to miss the tear-filled sound of the Rebbe’s voice as he read about Chana’s sorrow over not having a child and how she vowed that if given a child she would dedicate him to Hashem.
After concluding the Haftora, preparations began for the shofar blowing. The crowding grew and intensified. A feeling of anticipation could be felt in the air. All eyes were upon the Rebbe as he spread his tallis over the bags of pidyonei nefesh and the shofars, and in a sobbing voice he began the psalm that precedes the shofar blowing.
The man’s heart beat faster. Together with everyone else, he recited the psalm seven times. He felt this was the time he could attain the fulfillment of his prayers in the merit of the Rebbe tearing open the heavens and in the merit of the great power of this great tzaddik. The closer they got to blowing the shofar, the more he concentrated so that his prayers would go up with the Rebbe’s t’kios and push their way into the open gates of heaven.
The Rebbe said the blessings and the roar of “amen” could be heard reverberating throughout the shul. You could have heard a fly buzz in the silence that followed. The Rebbe lifted his tallis, took a shofar and tried to blow. It was an attempt, but not a real t’kia. Many people closed their eyes trying to reach a higher state of concentration, while some preferred to watch the holy service at its peak. The sense of awesomeness of the moment was almost palpable.
Unfortunately, the t’kios did not go easily. The Rebbe tried again and again but it was as though something was blocking the t’kios. The Rebbe took a different shofar and tried again but no sound emerged. The crowd was on tenterhooks. They knew that the Rebbe’s t’kios were not just any blowing but t’kios that tore down all iron curtains that might be separating between the Jewish people and their Father in heaven. The Satan was accusing …
The man stared intently in anticipation. He felt as though he too was a party to these attempts at blowing the shofar.
Suddenly, a thought flashed into his mind. He shuddered. Maybe it is my request that is delaying the t’kios? Maybe my intentions are impeding the sound of the shofar? He felt his heart squeeze and it seemed as though a metal spike was being driven through his innards. Deep inside, without being able to explain it, he felt that this was true. He made a decision. In his mind, he turned to the Master of the Universe and wordlessly sobbed, “Dear Father, if I am the one interfering with the Rebbe’s t’kios, I relinquish my request so that he can blow, so that the Rosh HaShana davening can continue, so that finally, there will be a yeshua for the Jewish people.”
As soon as he had this thought, the sound of the shofar could be heard loud and clear, all the sounds, with no problem at all. Everyone sighed in relief, feeling the fear of the Day of Judgment dissipating. The shofar blowing of the Jewish people had been accepted with love and mercy.
But the heart of the protagonist of our story was shattered. While everyone rejoiced in relief, as soon as the t’kios were finished he could not hold himself back and he ran out of the beis midrash and burst into tears. The Rebbe blew but I was left behind, all the gates are locked, it’s over.
After Rosh HaShana he returned home in despair. He told his wife what happened and both their hearts were broken.
It was at this point that they experienced a complete surprise. It was a short while later that they were told that a baby was on its way. All the words in the world could not describe their emotions and surprise after they had already given up on having children.
That year, a son was born to them. Their tremendous joy was shared by the entire family as well as all their acquaintances and members of their community.
In a corner of his brain the father was left with a question. He felt that he had had a part in the success of the t’kios by forgoing what he wanted, but if he did that, how did he merit to have a child? He did not tell anybody these thoughts and all you saw on him was radiant joy.
A few years went by and the man went to the Rebbe with his wife and child. He decided to pass by the Rebbe for kos shel bracha with his son so the Rebbe would see his son and his son would see the Rebbe.
Thousands of Chassidim and guests quickly passed by the Rebbe and the Rebbe poured kos shel bracha for each of them with a shining countenance. The line moved rapidly and it was almost his turn.
Then came the moment and the Rebbe looked at the child and poured wine into the cup in his hand. Then the Rebbe looked up at the father and poured wine into his cup. They had nearly walked on when a fatherly smile could be seen on the Rebbe’s face and he pointed at the child and asked, “Is this the child of the t’kios?”
The father nearly collapsed. It was only at the last moment, with a feeling of responsibility for his little boy’s welfare, that he managed to remain upright and nod.
He had gotten the Rebbe’s affirmation that at that fateful time, when heavenly accusers stand on one side and the beloved leader of the Jewish people stands on the other, he had merited to be granted a child like Sarah Imeinu and Chana.
R’ Levi Yitzchok Ginsburg finished telling this story and said, “Sometimes you have to know when to let go. It sometimes happens that we are fixated on something. We have to give in and give it over to Hashem and then, from this place of emuna and bitachon, the yeshua can sprout.”