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Rachel: Understanding Infertility: Part 4

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The Joy of Birth

At the next stage, when Abraham was 99 years old, God promises him that his spiritual heir will be born to him by Sarah. “And Abraham fell on his face and he laughed.”[1] Abraham laughed with joy. God says to Abraham, it is very good that you laughed, for joy releases and opens up blocked channels. With the help of your laughter, the child named Yitzchak (Isaac) which means “he will laugh” will be born.

Sarah’s laughter upon hearing the good tidings may seem problematic: “Why did Sarah laugh?”[2] In depth, even though this laughter has to be slightly rectified and integrated into faith – it also opened the channels for the birth of Isaac. Laughter with faith is to say, “Is anything beyond God’s capabilities?” With God’s help, the infertile woman can become the joyous mother of children – as a result of her joy!

Joy of the Infertile Woman

The Congregation of Israel, represented by Rachel who waits for her children, is also referred to as “infertile.” Everything written above about the individual’s prayer, faith and joy is relevant to the entire congregation of Israel. Just as in order to give birth to the Nation of Israel, our matriarchs were infertile, so the long-term infertility of the exile will ultimately give birth to a wondrous redemption.

We saw above that infertility stems from a certain aspect of “chaos” – of run with no return. In order to give birth, we need the World of Rectification, in which the movements of run and return complement each other. Kabbalah teaches that in the World of Chaos there are many lights, tremendous power the likes of which do not exist in the World of Rectification. But the World of Chaos burst (when its great lights shattered the vessels). The World of Rectification, in which all is measured and calmer, replaced it. In the World of Rectification, the lights are smaller and they can fit well into broad vessels.

What happens to the light of chaos? We do not want to forgo the intense energy of the World of Chaos. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe stated on 28 Nissan 5751, our ultimate goal is to attain a state of “lights of chaos in vessels of rectification.” We strive to unite the immense energies circulating in concealment with the actual world of action. Although a perfect union like this is practically non-existent, it is one of the signs of the true redemption and the coming of Mashiach (as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who wondrously dealt with infertility in his own marriage, taught).

In our context, when the infertile woman or nation gives birth by means of prayer, faith and joy – she has not completely relinquished the energies of the run. Instead, all of those energies are encompassed in a vessel. Thus, the son born to the first infertile woman was named Yitzchak (Isaac), “he will laugh,” for all the energies of his parents’ laughter entered him. Every burst of laughter includes a dimension of chaos (which laughs at limitations and rules). The other children born to infertile Biblical women Jacob, Joseph, Samuel and Samson are a wondrous gallery of great lights. The general birth that will follow the infertility of the years of exile will take place when the infertile Zion, the Congregation of Israel, will give birth to the Mashiach (משיח), which is a permutation of ישמח (‘he will be happy’ or ‘he will make others happy'). Then, “the laughter of our lips will be full”[3].

Then Rachel will wipe the tears from her eyes [In Hebrew, Rachel = 2 times דמעה (tear)]. All the years of anticipation will be justified when the children return to their Homeland and it will become clear that the woman who seems to be infertile actually has children as numerous as the stars. “And you will say in your heart, who birthed these to me?”[4] Sing, O barren, you who did not bear, break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, said God.”[5] (Note that this verse in Hebrew spells out Rachel at equidistant intervals: רָנִּי עֲקָרָה לֹא יָלָדָה פִּצְחִי רִנָּה וְצַהֲלִי לֹא חָלָה כִּי רַבִּים בְּנֵי שׁוֹמֵמָה מִבְּנֵי בְעוּלָה אָמַר ה).

Let us pray with all our hearts, with faith and joy, that all the infertile women will become mothers. We will pray that the Nation of Israel will give birth to its children and will become the mother who raises her children, the mainstay of the home, “the mother of the children is joyous.”

[1] Genesis 17:17.

[2] Genesis 18:13.

[3] Psalms 126:2. This laughter is particularly associated with Isaac, as in the words of the Talmud that in the future, we will say to Isaac “You are our father.” (Shabbat 89b).

[4] Isaiah 49:21.

[5] Isaiah 54:1.

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