Sunday, October 5, 2008


I wanted to respond to someone's comment on my Thursday post. I did not mean that everyone needs to do something or not do something in particular in order to merit this type of blessing--or any blessing, for that matter. I just meant that for me, I think that is where the merit came from. In Judaism we talk about "having the merit" for many, many things--finding a spouse, having children, building a home. For example, when someone gets married we always say "May you have the merit to build a house of belief in Israel" (not the country; the saying is referring to the Jewish people as an entity). In Judaism we also recognize that ALL of the fore-mothers and some other noteable Bibilical women (Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Hannah to name a few) all suffered from infertility...and these were THE most holy women EVER. How could anyone imagine that they needed to do anything to merit children? But G-d wanted to hear their prayers and, at least in the case of Rachel, she did do something to merit having children. My husband actually told me this story just a few days ago and I would like to relate it. Basically, it was supposed to be Rachel's fate to not have any children--that was just G-d's will. But when she found out that she was being replaced by Leah when she was supposed to be marrying Jacob, she did the most selfless thing she could. She gave Leah the signals that she was planning to use so Jacob would know (ie think) it was her on the wedding night. Rachel didn't know that Jacob would work another 7 years and then eventually marry her, so by giving up what she thought would be her only chance at having children and marrying the man that she loved, she actually gained the merit for G-d to overturn her fate and give her children. She did struggle for many, many years to have children even after she was married, but she did, in the end, have two boys. Again, I'm not saying that people should go looking for something to do so that G-d will grant them children. Not everyone needs that. But I hope it will give someone hope that G-d can change his decrees, that merit comes in all different ways, and that even the most holy and pure of women still struggled to bear children--so we are all in very, very good company on that front.

P.S. And I definitely hope I didn't offend anyone by my Thursday post or by this post.


the mol said...

I understood it, but then, everything that you've said so far actually makes sense to me, being Jewish myself.

What's interesting about earning the merit for something is that usually you can't think about it ahead of time, like "if I'm nice to these people, I'll become meritorious enough to win the lottery." It just doesn't work that way.

It's something I've struggled with ever since my son was diagnosed with cancer. I guess we're lucky in that it's a very treatable cancer. Maybe the reason that he has to go through this is so that we would be brought in contact with the center where he gets treated and be able to give back to them and help that cause. We have a lot of good connections and, hopefully, we'll be able to do a lot of good work for the center just as everyone there has worked so hard for us.

Cate said...

I learn so much by reading your blog as far as religion is concerned. I grew up on a loosely formed version of Wicca so we don't have some of the parables and stories you do, we more or less have the "do what you will as long as it harms none" but I can kind of see that relating, if that makes sense.