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Main  >  The Needy  >  Double Sorrow

The Needy

Double Sorrow

The news was so exciting that they all flew out the door the moment they heard. Each child ran to a different neighbor to share the wonderful news of their double blessing. Their mother had just given birth to twins!
They were eight children – and now, two more! Their joy was boundless. They had no idea how short-lived their joy would prove to be.
A day after the twins were born, the mother was summoned to the doctor’s room at the hospital. She understood immediately that something was wrong – and she was utterly terrified.
The doctor was an elderly gentleman with lots of experience. He was very kind and gentle as he told her that one of the twins was seriously brain damaged.
“Be glad you have one healthy child,” a different, less sensitive doctor advised her. “At least you get to go home with one healthy baby. If you find you can’t handle caring for the brain-damaged child, you can send him to an institution and no one will be the wiser. After all, you’ll have a baby at home.”
She was furious with the doctor, then, for talking that way, furious at his lack of sensitivity.
Later, however, his words took on an incomparably bitter significance.
In middle of the night, a religious hospital volunteer woke her up from a deep sleep. “Pray,” she told her urgently. “Your baby is suffering severe respiratory distress. They found him completely blue. Pray. They’re working hard to save him.”
Her cries rent the heavens. The other women in the maternity ward awoke in alarm and joined her in tearful prayer.
“But he was sick… maybe it’s better this way,” her roommate whispered. “Better for his neshamah and better for you, too. You have children to marry off, after all.”
Once again, amidst the terrible distress she was feeling, she sensed that words like these were intolerable.
The doctor who came to see her found an entire ward of wakeful mothers surrounding a sobbing mother. He had no choice but to tell her that it was all over.
“Where is my healthy baby?” she asked. “I’d like to have him at my side now, at least,” she requested.
The doctor, the same young doctor who had been in the room when she’d learned that one of the twins was sick, opened his mouth and closed it again.
How could he tell her that it was the healthy baby that had passed away?
At home, there were eight children waiting, and now they were joined by a sick brother. Their intense joy was replaced by deep sorrow. Their previously active mother returned from the hospital a broken woman. She stared listlessly at the walls, refusing to take an interest in anything. Her seventeen-year-old daughter tended to the baby and took care of the older children as well – until she just could not go on any longer.
The baby was taken to a suitable home. The mother couldn’t handle the separation. She travels there to be with him, leaving her home bleak and empty.
Eight children have had the world crash on their heads. They are miserable children who have lost their joy in life. The mother used to be the breadwinner of the family but now she hasn’t worked for months. The children have no food and no motherly love or attention. What will their Chanukah candlelighting session be like?
 
 
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