As some of you may already know our family experienced a trauma four weeks ago that will certainly take us awhile to recover from. Our daughter Naama who many of you met on Simchat Torah was admitted to the hospital with the diagnosis of an inflamed gall bladder and unfortunately a procedure done to improve her condition accidentally clipped something in her body and caused internal bleeding that no one was aware of . We watched as her ravaged body and her entire personality became unresponsive and began to close down. Only due to the intervention of Dr Joseph Portnoy at the Jewish General Hospital who is a close personal friend was she intubated and rushed to the intensive care unit of the hospital where she received six pints of blood and was worked on for close to three hours by two doctors and a team of six nurses in order to bring her back to us. It was one of those experiences that cause you to feel as though you are not really there.
Our wonderfully amazing children – all of them – immediately arrived in Montreal. They slept with Naama in the ICU – they tried to comfort us – they cried with us and then made a pact amongst themselves that as long as things were not completely stable we, their parents, would never be left alone. They took turns going home to their husbands, children, jobs and life and were a constant source of comfort to us.
During the time that we were there we noticed a group of people – four ladies who were waiting there night and day. They were a family of sefardi ladies who originally were from Morocco. (as a side note, almost half of the Jewish population in Montreal right now is Sefard) Three daughters together with their mother would stand vigil. Frequently they would have visitors coming to see them and spend time with them. Had one not seen these ladies under these conditions one could have imagined that they were models. Each was dressed extremely fashionably – beautiful leathers, beautiful clothing, boots, coiffed finger nails – but their look did not masquerade the pain in their eyes. On Sunday morning Nina came into the family room and there they were sitting reciting tehillim out loud. They asked for Naama’s name so that they could include her in their tefillot and they brought an extra sefer tehillim to leave in the room for anyone else that might want to use it in the future. Of course, most of their conversations were in French. Nina realized that they were discussing the possibility of adding a name onto their father’s name – and the following morning in fact they did change Shmuel to Shmuel Chaim. What was most striking to us was that ordinarily one would never expect looking at these people that they would be aware of the beauty of saying tehillim. Their appearance we feel would have been terribly misjudged by many in the frum world. How wrong people would have been. In their pain and suffering they reached out to Hashem just as we did – their tefillot were as loud and as pleading.
After Naama was moved from the ICU Nina went down everyday to visit with this family. When we left the hospital they were still there – davening , being encouraged by a family member to make brachot and we hope and pray that soon we will hear that their husband and father, Shmuel Chaim, had a refuah.
We say that we do not need such crises to remind us of how much we have to give thanks for. We say that we know how fortunate we are. The question is do we really? We suggest that everyone take a step back from their lives and for one minute imagine how different each of us would be if we concentrated on appreciating what we have and not what we should have. As well we are all guilty of judging others – what one wears has become the identifying factor in determining ones commitment to Yiddishkeit. It would be beautiful if all of us could concentrate on caring for one another no matter which group we affiliate with leaving outward appearances totally out of the picture.
P.S. Naama is great and enjoying her everyday wonderful, busy life once again.
By Mordechai & Nina Glick