A woman popped into my mind. A massage client of mine who has been coming off and on for massages for the past few years. She’s an intelligent, kind woman. She happens to be tall and in her mid-thirties. “Hmm. Maybe I have a match for your brother?” I looked for her phone number, but it was erased from my phone. I leafed through my agenda books to see if I could find it. It wasn’t there.
“G-d,” I prayed. “Please have Michal call me.”
Two days later after Shabbat my phone rang.
“Elana. It’s Michal.”
“Michal! I’m so happy that you called. I might have someone for you!”
“Elana, do you have any idea where I am?”
“I’m in Uman, in the Ukraine. I’m praying [to meet my soulmate] by the graves of the tzadikim (righteous ones). I did something to my back and I said to myself that I must call you and make an appointment with you for tomorrow when I arrive back in Jerusalem…”
“What Divine Providence!”
The next day Michal came. I gave her number to the other lady. Whether or not it turns out to be a match, I don’t know, but what I do know, what I told Michal is this…
“Michal, if I, your massage therapist thinks of you and prays for you-which I do, everyday-then how much more so does G-d, who is your Father, love you!”
To this Michal, who has been dating and searching for her soulmate for the past fifteen years, began to cry. Why? Because Michal told me that she felt all these years that “no” means “I don’t love you.”
My toddler, thank G-d, I’m enjoying him so much. You can already see he has a strong personality. He has goals, objects that he wants to obtain and reach for. He takes the chair or the stool here, there, everywhere and he lifts himself up on his tippy toes to grab at whatever item looks appealing to him. I can’t take my eyes off of him for a minute.
On our table I have a jar full of nuts and almonds for the bigger kids to take as a snack when they are hungry. Yosef Shalom climbs up. He wants what they are eating too. I won’t let him have them. “But Mommy,” my five-and-a-half-year-old asks, “Why not? There are so healthy!”
“Yes, they are. But Yosef Shalom is too little and for him, for now, they are dangerous. He could, G-d forbid, choke.”
I’m not giving my son something so healthy. Does this mean I don’t love him?
Of course not because we know that even though they are so healthy, for my little one, right now they are dangerous. And if a child was allergic to the nuts, then the age or the maturity wouldn’t matter, we still wouldn’t be able to give them to him.
A woman asks me, “Why is G-d withholding children from me? Why wouldn’t He want me to have a child? Doesn’t He love me?”
My thoughts too ran away from me and in this direction, those years my husband and I tried to conceive. I equated no with rejection, with lack of love. I kept asking, “What am I doing wrong? What have I done?” Slowly I understood that the “no” wasn’t a punishment. The no was simply giving me and my husband time to grow.
“Why haven’t I found a husband to share my life with? Doesn’t G-d want me to build a family? It must be that He doesn’t love me!”
I go back to my Yosef Shalom, my adorable toddler who if he could would touch and eat whatever he could get his pudgy hands onto. Do I love him when I tell him no? Absolutely. Does he cry and scream when I say no? Does maybe to him, in his level of understanding does it seem like I’m rejecting him? It could be, but is that the Truth? No.
A pregnant client nearing birth comes for a prenatal massage. I tell her as the birth approaches. “Remember, the most important thing in the birth is to know that G-d loves you.”
“How did you know that was exactly what I needed to hear?”
“Because we all need to hear this. We all need to know this.”
In each stage in life, with each test of life, I think the most important thing to know is that yes, G-d loves you.