The Sages tell us, “There are three partners in man—the Holy One, blessed be He, the father, and the mother” (Kiddushin 30b). Couples who are able to conceive naturally with little or no struggle often experience this sentiment. They live and feel God’s hand blessing them with a new healthy child.
For couples who unfortunately struggle with infertility, there is a very different experience. On the face of things, it seems like they have a whole team of partners, not just the three listed in the Talmud. There’s the OB/GYN, the reproductive endocrinologist, the embryologist and the fertility clinic medical and laboratory staff. Then there’s also the involvement of Puah members: the rabbinic counselor who provided constant emotional support and halachic and medical guidance, the lab supervisors who were present at all times to ensure things in the lab are done according to halacha and the rest of the team. By the time the couple greets their healthy baby, they feel as if it has taken an entire village to reach this birth. Under the circumstances, one might think that it is easy to forget who the real third partner is. However, this is not the case.
When we open our Haggadot this Pesach to celebrate our exodus from Egypt, we may notice what appears to be a glaring omission—With the exception of a small, incidental quote, Moshe Rabbeinu’s name is not mentioned once in the entire text! Wasn’t he our leader at this momentous time? Why is he excluded?
As the Vilna Gaon and others explain, Moshe is purposely left out because it is imperative that we emphasize the centrality of God in the Exodus. The Haggadah expresses this eloquently as follows:
“The Lord took us out of Egypt,” not through an angel, not through a seraph and not through a messenger. The Holy One, blessed be He, did it in His glory by Himself!
Thus it is said: “In that night I will pass through the land of Egypt, and I will smite every first-born in the land of Egypt, from man to beast, and I will carry out judgments against all the gods of Egypt, I the Lord.”
“I will pass through the land of Egypt,” I and not an angel;
“And I will smite every first-born in the land of Egypt,” I and not a seraph;
“And I will carry out judgments against all the gods of Egypt,” I and not a messenger;
“I- the Lord,” it is I, and none other!
Moshe was the conduit through which God’s plan flowed into this world. However, praising him for our redemption would be utterly wrong, because it was not his actions that brought about the event.
When it comes to the struggle with infertility, we who are involved in the journey are all merely the conduits for God’s miracles to come into the world. No one feels this more than the couples blessed with children after such a struggle. Indeed, they are grateful to all those who helped them along the way. But above all, they are grateful to feel the closeness of God, because it is He who has blessed them with new, pure Neshama to care for.
Chag Kasher V’Sameach.
Puah is an organization of experts in the world of Jewish fertility, serving the Jewish community for over 25 years, going above and beyond to help every couple build a family. Puah is devoted to providing counseling, advocacy, halachic & medical expertise, supervision, research and education worldwide.
By Rabbi Shaul Rappeport
Rabbi Rappeport is the Director of Rabbinic Services and Outreach for Puah. He is also the Rabbi of Lido Beach Synagogue in Long Island, NY.