My husband and I would like to thank Avi and Rikki Hager for sponsoring this shiur as a zechus for our son Benny – Binyomin Chaim ben Faigie Sarah – who should live and be well “ad me’ah v’esrim shanah”. If I can beg your indulgence for just a few minutes, it would be greatly appreciated. I am going to apologize that some of the thoughts I will share with you will be done in short form. For those of you who are interested in more detail, please don’t hesitate to touch base with me via phone, text or email.
In the weeks since our son’s diagnosis, we have heard many themes repeat themselves.
“Take care of yourself so you can take care of him”
“Try to keep things as normal as possible for your other children”
… and others. They are all very important pearls of wisdom from people who have been where we are heading and we hope to be able to heed this advice.
One of the most interesting repetitive themes has been: “you’ll get used to the “new” normal”. We’ve heard this from Doctors, Nurses, survivors, friends, family, strangers…
“The new normal” – at first, the very concept that we could get used to anything to do with this was in and of itself perhaps the most frightening idea.
However, over the past couple of weeks we have come to understand this phrase – albeit in a different way than it was intended.
In a visit with the Pittsburger Rebbe, Shlit’a yesterday, he shared a beautiful idea. We say in havdalah each week “Kos Yeshuos Esah” – the cup of salvations I will lift – “u’veshaim hashem ekra” – and I will call out in the name of hashem.
The question is asked: Why do I need to reference “Kos” yeshuos? Why not just “Yeshuos Esa”. The Pittsburger Rebbe answered as follows: along the path to a complete yeshua there are many small stops along the way. It is critical to capture all of these yeshuos when we thank hashem. It is not only the great, the ultimate salvation, but the “cup full of salvations” that count.
When we look back at the last number of months, there are a lot of things that we don’t know or understand.
We don’t know why Hashem picked us up and moved us to within 4 miles of one of only two hospitals in the entire world that specialize in what Benny is dealing with.
We don’t know why the doctor who saw us that first terrifying Shabbos in the hospital clinic was named “Hashem”. We don’t know why, after being told that his name means “eagle”, we arrived in our room and saw a mural of eagles painted above Benny’s bed – the only mural of its kind on the floor.
We don’t know why, over chol hamoed pesach, a strange and unusual – and very large – locust settled on our car door right where Benny sits – a locust that according to Chazal represents healing.
We don’t know why they began a clinical trial that had Benny’s diagnosis been a few weeks earlier or a few months later, he wouldn’t have been eligible for.
We don’t know why so many people have been touched by Benny and have chosen to make small enhancements to their yiddishkeit:
A non-frum doctor saying a bracha every day we were in the hospital.
A 6 year-old child in Toronto begging their mother to say a perek of tehillim for Benny without even realizing the decades old family friendship between his mother and Benny’s.
Hundreds of children in Toras Emes saying Asher Yatzar and other brochos out loud in Benny’s zechus.
Elementary school girls finishing tehillim multiple times every Shabbos.
Students at Maimonedes wearing “I say Asher Yatzar” bands and learning and concentrating on that brocha.
80 women showing up to be mafrish challah in Lakewood last Thursday night – most of whom don’t even know us.
Hashem granting us the opportunity to be mevaker choleh in strange ways – while still in the hospital with Benny.
Scores of people going to kivrei tzaddikim in eretz yisroel to daven for Benny.
R’ Chaim Kanievsky’s son-in-law saying that he was asked by five different sources to go to R’ Chaim with Benny’s name – in only 24 hours – and that he did so each time.
Dozens of women enhancing their shmiras halashon at Coffee Bean on Rosh Chodesh.
Two friends hopping on a plane from New York to Eastern Europe for 1 day just to daven for Benny.
High-school Bochurim in Lakewood being mekabel shmiras anayim.
And these little yeshuos go on and on and on… and as each little yeshua comes, it mixes in with Benny’s treatments to ensure that his medications and treatments are only beneficial and not, chas v’shalom, detrimental.
You see, we have a different appreciation for the “new normal”. It is a normal where we keep track of small things – small yeshuos – that are sent our way. It is a normal where we share those small things with non-frum or non-Jewish doctors, nurses, friends, family and strangers to be M’kadesh sheim shamayim.
With Hashem’s help, we WILL get used to the new normal – and – in the course of time, we will be able to hold this Kos of Yeshuos up high and proclaim the glory of Hashem with a Refuah Shelaimah min hashamayim for Binyomin Chaim ben Faigie Sarah.
Thank you – each and every one of you – for all of your little yeshuos.