Weekly Chasidic Story #1022 (s5777-41/ 15 Tamuz 5777)

A Proven Fertility Aid

Because Rabbi Chaim (ben Moshe) Ibn Atar had no children of his own, he placed his power to potentially produce children into his holy Torah commentary.

Connection: Seasonal--274th yahrzeit of the Ohr HaChayim.

A Proven Fertility Aid


Studying the holy Or HaChaim commentary on the Torah by Rabbi Chaim Ibn-Atar is considered to be conducive for practically everything. The Jews of Jerusalem (and much of the rest of the Jewish world) know that one who needs a salvation of any kind should undertake studying Or HaChaim for twenty minutes a week and he will see wonders. In particular, studying Or HaChaim is propitious for bearing children.

Rabbi Binyamin Mendelson (the founding rav of Moshav Komemiyut-see below) and the Leiv Simchah (Rabbi Simcha-Bunim Alter, subsequently the Rebbe of Gur-see below) both attended the funeral in 1962 of the Varshevar Rav (R. David Sperber-see below) in Jerusalem. On that occasion, Rabbi Mendelson told the Leiv Simchah the following:

"The Varshever Rav didn't have children for many years. He went to his rebbe, the Imrei Yosef (founder of the Spinka dynasty-see below), who told him to learn a certain section of the Or HaChaim, saying that it is propitious for having children. He studied this piece many times, and Baruch HaShem, praise G-d, he had children. Unfortunately, the Varshaver Rav confessed that he doesn't remember which section of Or HaChaim it was."

The Leiv Simchah replied: "The truth is that every piece in the OrHaChaim is conducive for having children, because the Or HaChaim HaKadosh himself didn't have children of his own, so he placed his power of bringing children into his holy book."*

Once there was a rabbinic convention in Vilna, in the home of Rabbi Shmuel Greinemen. The Chofetz Chaim [1839 - 24 Elul 1933], Rabbi Chaim Ozer [Grodzinski: 1863 - 6 Av 1940], and the Chazon Ish [1878 - 15 Cheshvan 1953] (three of the greatest Torah scholars of the generation) were all there in attendance. The Chofetz Chaim noticed Reb Greineman's daughter in the kitchen checking the rice. Later, he saw that she was still there checking the rice, so the Chofetz Chaim asked her: "How many times do you check the rice?" She said: "My mother's brother, the Chazon Ish, will be eating in our home today. Therefore, I am checking the rice for him twelve times."

The Chofetz Chaim was impressed by her respect for Torah and its scholars, so he blessed her that she should live long, always have a clear mind, and never need eyeglasses. (The reason he added this last point was because he saw that she was checking the rice by the window, to catch the sunlight, so he blessed her that she should always have good eyes.) Later, she moved to Eretz Yisrael, living in Petach Tikvah, and all of the Chofetz Chaim's blessings materialized. Indeed, she lived until the ripe old age of 98.

The Chazon Ish, her uncle, was her matchmaker, and she married Rabbi Mordchai -Shraga Eiselman, but for seventeen years they didn't have children. She went to the Chazon Ish and she told him about her plight, and the Chazon Ish gave her a blessing that she should have children.

She said: "I don't want a blessing, I want that you should promise me that I will have children."

The Chazon Ish put his head down on his arm, and when he raised it he answered: "I can't promise this."

She said: "I was an orphan, and you arranged my marriage. Now you must take responsibility for the match that you made."

The Chazon Ish put his head down another time, and raised it and said: "You should go to pray at the grave of the Or HaChaim HaKadosh."

This was in year 5704 (1944 C.E.), and it wasn't safe to go to the Mount of Olives, because of the Muslims. She mentioned this to the Chazon Ish, who replied: "There is no other solution."

So she went to the Or HaChaim's burial site on his yahrzeit, the fifteenth of (the Jewish month of)Tammuz. Exactly nine months later, on the 25th of Nissan, she had a son. He is now living in Bnei Brak. **

Source: "Torah Wellsprings" - R. Elimelech Biderman (Bolok 5775) - adapted and supplemented by Yerachmiel Tilles from the translation of R. Baruch Twersky.

Author's notes:
* It is also written in Imrei Pinchas in the name of Rebbe Pinchas of Koritz that since the Or HaChaim didn't have children, he placed his entire strength for children into his book.
** This child was viewed as a great wonder, because in those days, it was extremely rare for someone to have a child after waiting seventeen years. [At the brit mila,] people were so astonished, they were eagerly taking turns holding the new-born miracle, and someone accidently dropped him. The child's life was in danger for eight weeks, but he pulled through. Today he has a slight limp because of that fall. Otherwise, he is boruch Hashem, well.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Many, including the Lubvitcher Rebbe, state that the Ohr HaChayim Hakadosh had no sons, but he did have daughters.

Biographical notes:
Rabbi Chaim (ben Moshe) Ibn Atar (1696 - 15 Tammuz 1743) is best known as the author of one of the most important and popular commentaries on the Torah: the Ohr HaChaim. He established a major yeshiva in Israel, after moving there from Morocco. Chassidic tradition is that the main reason the Baal Shem Tov twice tried so hard (and failed) to get to the Holy Land was that he said if he could join the Ohr HaChaim there, together they could bring Moshiach. His burial site outside the Old City of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, is considered a propitious place to pray.

Rabbi Benyamin (ben Menachem Mendel) Mendelson [of blessed memory: ?-24 Iyar 5739 (?-May 1979 C.E.)] was born in Plotzk, Poland. He emigrated to Israel after WWII, where he became the founding rabbi of Komemiyut, a religious moshav in the south, which under his guidance and rabbinical leadership became one of the first settlements to observe all the biblical and rabbinical agricultural laws which apply to the Holy Land. He is still is considered a foremost authority on the laws of the Sabbatical Year.

Rav Simcha-Bunim (ben Avraham-Mordechai) Alter [of blessed memory: Nissan 5658 - 7 Tammuz 5752 (April 1898 - Aug. 6, 1992 C.E.)], also known as the Lev Simcha after the works he authored, was the fifth Rebbe of Ger, a position he held from 1977 until 1992. Prior to becoming Rebbe he was an extremely successful businessman. During the time of his leadership, Ger grew greatly in Israel. He instituted the daily learning of a page of Talmud Yerushalami.

Rabbi David (ben R. Baruch Kalonymus) Sperber [1877 - 25 Adar B 1979], the composer of Teshuvas Afrakasta d'Anya and ten other sefarim, was the leader of pre-WWII Romanian Jewry. In 1950 he left Europe and settled in Jerusalem, where he was an important member of "Agudat HaRabbanim" and "Chinuch Atzmi".

Rabbi Yosef Meir (ben Shmuel Tzvi) Weiss [[of blessed memory: 18 Adar 5598 - 6 Iyar 5669 (1838 - 1909 C.E.)], founder of the Spinker dynasty, attended the Chasidic masters of Belz, Vizhnitz, Zhidichov and Sanz, and studied under several prominent rabbinical sages in his native Hungary. In 1876 he became a Rebbe in his own right, eventually attracting many thousands of followers including prominent Torah scholars. He authored a number of important books, of which the most well-known is Imrei Yosef on the Torah readings and the festivals. He was also famous as a miracle worker. His remains were brought to Israel in 1972 and reinterred in Petach Tikvah; his body was completely intact!

Connection: Seasonal--274th yahrzeit of the Ohr HaChayim.


Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.

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