Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sefer Torah Soulfest

The moment a child is born it begins to take its cues from those present. If all are waiting with bated breath, the newborn will hold its breath. If those attending are afraid, the little one experiences fear. And when all are peaceful, the baby knows he’s safe.

When I attend a birth I am cognizant of this honor, of this responsibility. I make an effort to leave that which doesn’t belong - outside of the birth room. I consciously welcome the new little soul with joy and acceptance. Sometimes, I think, I might be the only one present in that state of mind. This imprint carries considerable weight and is significant in the first experience of life earthside, and I like to think that I’m doing my part to make this child feel safe, loved and welcome.

As the summer drew to a close, my brother and sister in law celebrated the completion of writing a Sefer Torah. We drove to Montreal to join the festivities. This Sefer Torah was written in the merit of their family expanding. They have a sweet little girl whose conception defied the laws of medicine. Truly a miracle baby. When I say that emotions ran high, I mean tangible, chords being struck, alive with feeling, eliciting resonance, a fully charged event.

The sofer called upon those present to aid in completing the last few words. I thought of the soul of the Sefer Torah, of those present to greet it, to mark its entrance to our world. I thought of the imprint, of its first impression, and I was humbled.

Sweet Chana looks on as the sofer fills in some letters
my brother and his torah 

Who am I to greet a Sefer Torah? Would my presence make it feel safe? It was certainly welcomed with love and joy, but was I present to the torah and its message? Was my soul alight for this special torah? Would it be content in that room? Who am I?

The scenario replayed itself many times  through my mind for the days that followed. I thought about the journeys of the souls. My soul, as other souls, came into this world, having chosen its journey. My parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children, my story, my passage, my progress. And I imagine the soul of the Sefer Torah did too. It chooses its journey. For some that journey is filled with righteous people and for some, they are surrounded by the more mundane. Yet they all have a purpose, a mission to fulfill.

I like to think that my soul and the soul of this particular torah are intrinsically linked. That we planned this encounter way back when, in our pre-embryonic stages, long before we were a twinkle of anything in this earthly world we now reside in.
my brother holding his babies
My grandparents with the new torah

no caption needed
I'm very grateful that we made the trip, that we were able to share the experience, that I was present for the birth. I pray that in merit of this special torah, another beautiful soul will join our family.

To beautiful births,


Update: On the 7th of Av, 11 months after this beautiful event, sweet baby Kayla was welcomed with love and gratitude. G-d is so big. (pic to follow)


  1. wow very powerful and beautifully written. You have a way of weaving the kabalistic teachings of souls with your work, and the emotions of your family with strangers. rebirth. Thank you

    1. Thank you anon for taking the time to share your very eloquently written comment. I appreciate that.

  2. Mazel tov, Chani and family! How wonderful. The whole family looks radiant in these photos. Such a blessing!

    1. Thank you Susanrachel. New baby girl born last week. what a miracle.