You think that I would get the message, but I don’t and so over and over G-d shows me in an infinite number of ways that I, Elana Mira Mizrahi, am not in control and this my dear friends is very very humbling. I had a week where this message really hit home. I attended two births. Both women were past their due dates and when at last contractions set it and we knew that yes this was the real thing both, like every laboring woman, wanted to know, “When will this end? How much longer?” I smiled, I massaged, I encouraged, “A little bit more and it will be over,” I reassured them.” But really, I didn’t know. I never know. No one does, only G-d.
Birth is a humbling, awesome experience. In ten minutes a woman can open up from being dilated 6cm to 10cm and in ten hours a woman can go from only 1cm to 3cm. There are patterns, but there are no rules. And at last when the baby comes forth from its mother, there is no one, not a doctor, not a midwife, not a doula, and certainly not the mother or the father who is not completely and totally humbled by the experience. We all saw it birth-leida (In Hebrew) is le yad Hash-m, the hand of G-d and in birth there is no other, only Him.
Following birth there is a tradition for the mother to say Psalm 100, a psalm of thanksgiving. Of course one feels gratitude upon birthing a baby, but this psalm speaks more than just thanksgiving. It tells us, “Know that G-d He is G-d (meaning there is no other force). He made us His and we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. ..” Birth is a clear revelation of Divine Providence. You see G-d in birth. You know that there is NO other you understand that He orchestrates everything and guides every event and every occurrence that takes place like a shepherd who herds his sheep.
All the birthing courses now available are wonderful-learning to breath in birth, hypnosis in birth, prenatal exercises for birth, etc. I encourage every woman to learn, be informed, and to do as much effort as she can to make her birthing experience easy and beautiful. I myself did and it helped-tremendously. However a woman has to know that you can plan your birth to be one way and it almost never is the way that you plan. In fact I was never at a birth that went the way it was originally envisioned. Ultimately when the unexpected happens (which is always the case in birth!) the only sure thing that a woman can hold onto is that she’s not in control and that G-d Himself is conducting her birthing symphony.
The Torah says, “You have been shown to know that G-d, He is the G-d! There is none beside Him (Deuteronomy 4:35).” This verse is not just telling us to believe in only One G-d. We know that there is only one G-d. This verse is telling us to understand and to realize that nothing else exists except for Him and that everything contains a spark of Divinity. However the spark is concealed and our mission in life is to reveal it.
When G-d created man the verse says, “G-d said, ‘Let’s make man in our image, in our likeness…(Genesis 1:25).’” Rashi explains that G-d used term “let’s” and “our” to teach us the quality of humility-that the greater one should consult and take permission from the lesser one and if it had written “I shall make man” we would not have learned this most important trait.
Birth is from Him and the salvation is from Him. Everything that exists is from Him. G-d created man to reveal holiness. We do this by getting close to Him, by calling out to Him, by knowing Him. We do this by being humble. We were created with the trait of humility, we give birth through humility, and we actualize our potential and ultimate goal through humility.
I say the words of Psalm 100 with the beautiful birthing woman who I am supporting-with the woman who told me that she was sure that the baby would be born early and the baby decided to make his appearance two weeks late. To the woman who wanted a completely natural birth and who ended up having a life saving cesarean. To the woman who is always late and who at week 38 gave birth in my hands in her bathroom (the ambulance finally arrived ten minutes later). I tell all these birthing women to envision a flock of sheep with its faithful shepherd. “Let go. Let G-d guide you and bring your baby into this world. Repeat after me…”
A song for a thanksgiving offering:
Shout to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with joy, come before Him with praise. Know that the Lord is God; He made us and we are His, people and the flock of His pasture. Come into His gates with thanksgiving, [into] His courtyards with praise; give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His kindness is forever, and until generation after generation is His faith.
It’s now the beginning of the week and I open my agenda to see what I have scheduled. I think I have my whole week planned. I think again. Ain od levado “There is none other than Him!” I wonder what He has in store for me for this week and how those sparks of Divinty will be revealed…