Can a couple still have children after 33 years waiting and praying for a first child?
Yup. Baruch HaShem! This should teach us all that we should never give up hope, and anything is possible for HaShem, Who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
For 33 years, the Rebbe of the Mevakshei Emunah Hasidism in Jerusalem prayed for a miracle that would help his wife become pregnant and give him a son.
On Friday it almost happened: At the age of 52, Rabbi Yoel Kahn's wife gave birth to twin girls, which brought him a lot of happiness but not the heir he had been waiting for.
Rabbi Kahn and his wife, both offspring of noble ultra-Orthodox families, were married in Jerusalem in 1978 and settled in the neighborhood of Mea Shearim. They tried to conceive a child for years, but were unsuccessful despite dozens of fertility treatments and the family members' prayers.
Rebbe wasn't worried
Rabbi Kahn is the younger brother of the leaders of the Toldot Aharon and Toldot Avraham Yitzhak Hasidism, whose members are nicknamed "zebras" due to their striped coats. Thirteen years ago he founded his own small Hasidism, called Mevakshei Emunah.
The Hasidism is comprised of only 30 families, but every week the Rebbe visits a different community in Israel in a bid to recruit followers, and so many people across the country were aware of the couple's attempts to conceive and prayed for the fertility treatments' success.
All that time, the Rebbe himself was not worried. His followers say he was convinced he would eventually become a father. According to rumors in the Hasidism, before his death the Rebbe's father promised his son that he would have children.
'It's a Purim miracle'
Eventually, the Rebbetzin became pregnant and gave birth to twin girls at the age of 52, after 33 years of infertility. The babies were born on pregnancy week 31 and were immediately placed in an incubator.
According to sources in the Hasidism, the rabbi's wife initially carried three fetuses – two girls and a boy – but the boy did not survive.
Rabbi Kahn's Hasidim rushed to the hospital to celebrate the joyous occasion with drinks and dances. "It's a Purim miracle," one of them said. "We are called 'Mevakshei Emunah' (faith seekers), and now we see that three decades of faith did help."
Another Hasid explained that "today fertility treatments are not such a big deal in the haredi sector, and anyone who needs them can do it. Judaism wants us to try to have children, and even if people don't talk about it – it's clear to everyone that treatments were involved."
And what about a successor to lead the Hasidism after the Rebbe's death? The Hasidim are not giving up and hope Rabbi Kahn will still have a son. "You can have children till the age of 55," one of them says. "We continue to pray with complete faith that our rabbi will also be blessed with a son."