I haven’t written in a few weeks but I felt I had to share something that I thought was very special and I hope you will agree.
Our close readers have likely noticed that over the past year or two we have added a nice number of divrei Torah and Torah topics columns, which I think is a good thing, although it’s certainly not easy in the slower summer weeks and somewhat thinner summer editions to have to decide which Torah pieces and writers to cut back on. Definitely very challenging and apologies to any of our writers whom we have cut back a bit on!
Having said that, among the columns we added was a weekly Zera Shimshon column, which we started publishing in September 2022 and which was introduced to me by my friend and running partner Yehudah Perlowitz and his wife, Rivky. (Publisher’s note: I wrote in this space about Yehudah back in March 2021 when he completed his 50th half marathon in 30 states, and he has added more since then, although he still has a way to go before running in all 50 states.)
Although the Sefer Zera Shimshon has become much more popular in the Orthodox world over the past two to three decades, and especially since Artscroll published a beautiful edition in recent years, I am fairly sure that many in our readership are still not that familiar with this sefer and its author. To recap briefly, the Zera Shimshon was published in the mid-late 1700s by R’ Shimshon Chaim Nachmani of Northern Italy. Rav Nachmani lived more than 250 years ago and was a respected rav and talmid chacham and was referred to by the Chida as a “chasida kadisha,” a holy chassid. Rav Nachmani was blessed with one son, who passed away in his father’s lifetime. Realizing that he would not be leaving a child to survive him, Rav Nachmani left, instead, a legacy of Torah thoughts – the Sefer Zera Shimshon on the Torah.
And he left a paragraph in the sefer’s hakdama (introduction) that would be changing lives centuries later. “Please study my sefer,” he wrote, entreating those reading his words. “Reward is great for those who do kindness graciously, and you shall have much peace from Heaven. Your eyes shall see children and children’s children, like olive shoots around your table. Your homes will be full of all the good. Wealth and honor will not cease from your descendants…”
In recent years, the segulah of learning from the Zera Shimshon as a means to ask for Hashem’s help in having children has only grown and grown and when my friends, the Perlowitzes, approached me last summer to ask if I would consider running a weekly commentary on the Zera Shimshon in our paper, I was certainly open to it. They also asked if they could sponsor the weekly column and after some back and forth, we agreed on an annual sponsorship amount and started running the column with our Sept. 1, 2022 edition.
And over the past few months, I have heard from a number of readers that they enjoy the Zera Shimshon column as something a bit different for our paper and have gotten mostly positive feedback on it.
However, that’s not why I am mentioning it in this space. You see, I neglected to mention earlier that my friend Yehudah, who is a few days older than me, got married a few years ago to Rivky, and he and his wife did not have any children yet. Both he and Rivky have many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and they are a devoted aunt and uncle team but I knew they wanted to have a child, although this is not something we ever discussed on our regular runs.
Well, about a month ago, he texted me on a Motzei Shabbat to say that he would need a rain check on our regular Sunday morning run. When I replied back a bit sharply to tell him that there was no rain in the forecast for that Sunday morning and that I didn’t understand why he was canceling on me, he proceeded to tell me that he had a pretty good excuse for once (I am usually the one canceling on him) as he and his wife, Rivky, just had their first child, a daughter, over Shabbat and they were still in the hospital. Of course, I was incredibly happy for him and Rivky, and I am still smiling and happy for them now as I write this.
Later on that week, Yehudah called to let me know that he and Rivky counted the days and that their new daughter was born precisely 280 days—a full nine month term—from the date of the first edition that the Zera Shimshon started running in our paper, the Sept 1 edition, and that they are firmly convinced that their involvement and sponsorship of the column played a role in the birth of their daughter. Wow.
I was quite taken aback when I heard this from my normally level-headed friend and while I am not necessarily someone who typically runs after all manner of segulahs and yeshuos, I cannot help but think the Perlowitzes may be right on this one. As Robert Ripley used to say, “Believe it or not!” I also feel that it’s never a bad thing to get an occasional and powerful personal reminder that there are forces at play in our world that defy easy explanation and point directly to Hashem’s continuing hashgacha and guidance in this world. And I am happy that our paper was a conduit and platform for this.
All in all, I think it’s pretty cool and special, and I hope you do as well.
Mazal tov to Yehudah and Rivky Perlowitz on the birth of their daughter Chaya Leah aka Lily!
To find out more about the Zera Shimshon, just read the weekly column in The Jewish Link or visit zerashimshon.co.il.
Closing Note: The Perlowitzes have asked that I let our readers know that they have added new names of couples (in Hebrew) who are in this matziv to the sponsor box at the end of every Zera Shimshon column (See page 52). They believe firmly in the power of tefilah and that one should never stop davening for what you need. If you know someone who might want to be included, email: [email protected]
By Moshe Kinderlehrer/
Co-Publisher, The Jewish Link