Friday, July 17, 2015
I write to you from a room on the fifth floor of a Children's hospital in Kansas City. To be honest, I am not sure if I am in Kansas or Missouri, but apparently Kansas City is located in both of those states. Not sure how that works, but that's what I am told. We were traveling across the country to move to our new home in Denver, when unfortunately my baby daughter became very ill. With only eight hours between us and our new home awaiting us in Denver, we decided it was too far and we needed to be seen immediately. Now, thank G-d things are very slowly, gradually improving, but there is still a long road ahead and we will be here for awhile, and we are still in desperate need of the prayers of you thousands upon thousands of devoted readers across the planet.
These last few days have been filled with tremendous anxiety, pain, sadness and downright fear. I have experienced these emotions in abundance. However, looking back at all of these feelings, what has consistently made me the most emotional was the outpouring of love and support from the Jewish Community across the world. As Jews, we believe that the power of prayer is very real. G-d listens to us, and has every ability to help us in the manner we hope He will, if He deems that is what is best for us. As soon as we realized we were in such a precarious situation, I emailed a few email rabbi list-serves to ask for people to pray for my beautiful daughter, Tzippora Bracha bas Tzirel Shoshana. What followed was nothing short of astounding. I received dozens of emails back, from people I had never met, assuring me they were praying for us, and asking what they could do to help. Bosses from old jobs I held called personally, asking what they could do, and connected me to the best doctors in the world, and submitted my daughters name on websites for people across the world to pray for. Different communities across the world held special prayer sessions just for my daughter's recovery. One rabbi I have never met, who is on a trip to Poland prayed at the grave site of a holy Chassidic Rebbe on my daughter's behalf. My holy sister arranged for a group of people who together committed to complete the entire book of Psalms--all 150 chapters-- every day for the next 3 weeks. My incredible, kind, caring, generous brother in law who lives here has put his life on hold to help us with whatever we need. My current boss expressed that they will do anything possible to help us; even if it means making use of a private jet. I have spent hours and hours on the phone with an expert doctor from my home town, who has graciously given his time to me, to clearly explain what is going on. I have been given access to world experts in medicine, and top rabbis, able to help and assist us whenever we need them.
Additionally, we currently find ourselves in a part of the country with which we are unfamiliar. With the exception of my incredible brother in law, who has given unbelievable emotional support, and one woman my wife has spoken with once on the phone, we don't know anyone. And yet throughout this whole ordeal, we couldn't feel more at home or more loved. The Jewish community in Kansas City has hosted us in their home even though they had never before met us. They have cooked countless meals for us, and delivered them to the hospital, a good twenty minute trip from where they live. They are providing for our Shabbos needs while we are in the hospital. One surgeon who works in this hospital from the Jewish community personally stopped by to drop off lunch. Another sweet, kind family made a special trip to deliver groceries, and a microwave we could use. We have received calls and texts from people we have never met, asking how they can help. We were given a personal visit from the Executive Vice President and COO of the hospital, a member of the Jewish community here, and the President of the Board of the Hospital has seen to it that our every need is taken care of, even though she is currently in Israel. Doctors from the community who work at the hospital are visiting us every day, bringing us things we need, and giving us encouragement. I can honestly say I love and adore the Kansas City community and truly feel that I am a part of the community, even though I only know one or two people from it.
When I pray to G-d every day, there is a prayer called "Shomeah Tefillah" where we ask G-d to hear our prayers. When I reached that prayer, and I uttered those words, with tears pouring out of my eyes I felt unbelievably comforted as I asked G-d not just to hear my prayer, but to hear the prayer of hundreds of people praying for my baby across the world. Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, a month filled with tremendous pain and agony for the Jewish People throughout history, a month that marks the destruction of both of our Holy Temples. We are in exile, a bitter, cold, scary exile that grows scarier every day. We are in this terrible exile because, as the Talmud relates, the Jewish people demonstrated sinas chinam, baseless hatred towards each other. Dear Almighty G-d, Who loves us more than anything imaginable and Whose compassion and mercy knows no bounds: Please lift Your eyes from up High, and see what is happening in Kansas City. See how Your children all across the world are concerned about us, loving us for no other reason than the fact that we are their brothers; fellow Jews. See the compassion your children are showering towards us; please do not turn away from noticing the profound, baseless love they are giving us. And PLEASE, PLEASE remove all of the suffering from this world, grant health to all of the precious sick children in this hospital and across the world, and return us IMMEDIATELY to our home, in Jerusalem b'mheyra b'yameinu.