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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The following was written in Cheshvan 5771/October 2010.

It is with utmost gratitude to Hashem Yisborach that we announce and celebrate the birth of our daughter this past Monday, 17 Cheshvan 5771.

When we were discussing the baby with our children a few weeks ago, our five-year-old-daughter Aviva Rochel—paraphrasing the well-known refrain with an addition of her own—declared that, “it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s a healthy girl!”

More recently, when we asked our three-year-old-son Avi what he would do when he sees the baby, he emphatically announced that he was going to give it a potch. When we asked him why he explained, “Because it kicks Mommy.”

The gemara relates that during the months before a soul descends into the world an angel teaches it the entire Torah. Then, just before the baby is born, the angel taps the baby on its lip, causing it to forget all it learned. When we arrived in the hospital prior to the birth of each of our children, I told Chani that in heaven they were reciting the hadran (the declaration recited at the completion of a tractate of Gemara or an order of Mishnayos) at the celestial seudas preida (farewell meal) for our soon-to-be-born child.

This past Monday morning we drove through a dense fog and arrived at the hospital at about 6 a.m. The baby was born at 8:46 a.m. However, as we did not know in advance how long the delivery would take, I felt that I should daven Shacharis outside the room.

I left the room where Chani was hooked up to the monitors recording her and the baby’s heartbeat and the intravenous. I went to a secluded corner and donned my tallis and tefillin.

Standing there clad in my “prayer uniform” it struck me. I, too, was “hooked up,” receiving an injection through an intravenous, i.e. a spiritual injection through a spiritual intravenous. In our daily lives we are exposed to many spiritual poisons. Each morning we connect ourselves to receive a spiritual antibiotic to ward off those pernicious forces, as we monitor our spiritual heart rate.

In our technologically advanced world we busy ourselves with many electronic devices including phones, bluetooths, blackberries, cameras and laptops. All those devices have a limited amount of available energy, and need to be charged periodically. So every night we connect our contraptions to long black cords that plug into the wall. And metaphorically, every morning we connect our soul to “black cords” that plug us into our spiritual source to bolster our spirit.

As a side point, when going to the hospital it’s a good idea to remember to take those black cords so that phones, cameras and laptops don’t die during the day. I learned that lesson this week…

[Interestingly enough, in the October 2002 edition of Journal of Chinese Medicine there was an article entitled “Tefillin: An ancient acupuncture point prescription for mental clarity.” The article makes the case that the parts of the body on which the tefillin rest creates an outline much like an acupuncture pattern that would enhance mental clarity. The article adds that it is surprising that such a pattern can be found in a non-Chinese procedure dating back thousands of years.]

As we thank God for the past kindness He has bestowed upon us, we add a prayer that He will continue to shower us with blessings and help our newborn daughter—and her siblings—always feel connected to her true source.

May we always share simchos!

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as guidance counselor and fifth grade Rebbe in ASHAR, and principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor, and a division head at Camp Dora Golding. He also presents parenting classes based on the acclaimed Love and Logic methods. For speaking engagements, his email address is: [email protected]. His website is: www.stamtorah.info.

By Rabbi Dani Staum

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