Home » Uncategorized » Danny Amrani

Danny Amrani

24 August 2023

My wife Yardena and I married in 1978. After a few years passed and we were still unable to have a baby, we turned to doctors and underwent several years of fertility treatments. The treatments were unsuccessful, which caused us great pain.

Click here for full-color print version

In 1985, we moved to the town of Afula. During that period, our religious observance was steadily increasing; my wife, who made quicker progress than me, was already keeping Shabbat. A friend encouraged me to reach out to Rabbi Yitzchak Yadgar, a Chabad representative in the nearby Ta’anakh region, and the principal of a school in the settlement Avital. One Friday after classes had ended, we came to his office. We shared our troubles and told him that we wanted a blessing for healthy children.

“What I can suggest,” said Rabbi Yadgar, “is that you write to the Rebbe and ask for his blessing.” He also advised that we take on a new resolution – some added aspect of Torah observance – as a vessel to receive G-d’s blessings.

Meanwhile, we had been referred by the Carmel Medical Center for an experimental fertility program that involved intensive preparations on our part. We were already in the advanced stages of the program but, after our talk with Rabbi Yadgar, my wife insisted that we ask the Rebbe about continuing with it, and then do as he advised. Together with Rabbi Yadgar, we worked on the wording of our letter, and before we left his office, he told us that, with G-d’s help, everything would work out.

Three weeks passed. It was another Friday, just days before the appointed time for the actual fertility treatment at Carmel. To my surprise, I found in our mailbox a letter from the United States, in the distinctive blue-and-white air-mail envelope. It was a letter from the Rebbe.

With great excitement, my wife and I sat down to read the opening words: “By the Grace of G-d, Chanukah 1987, Brooklyn, New York.” We quickly discovered, however, that the letter was written in a kind of shorthand, dotted with unfamiliar acronyms. So, we turned to the local shliach in Afula, Rabbi Chaim Shalom Segal, to decipher the abbreviated titles the Rebbe often used in the names of his addressees.

The Rebbe wrote that he would read our request for blessing at the resting place of the Previous Rebbe. Then he added, “You should be meticulous regarding the subject of Family Purity (the laws of niddah … mikvah, etc.). Over time, the finer points of Jewish law get forgotten – in this case, the laws of Family Purity – and so it is worthwhile to review all the practical laws on this subject.”

At the end of the letter, beneath the Rebbe’s signature, there was an addendum: “P.S. It is well known that there are many who are opposed to the use of in-vitro fertilization and similar methods.”

After seeing the Rebbe refer to those who – for Halachic reasons – were against the idea of test-tube fertilization, my wife decided that she had no intention of showing up for the appointment that had been scheduled for the next week. I tried convincing her otherwise – we had already gone through such a long process up until that point, so maybe it was still worth trying – but she was adamant.

“This is a sign that we don’t need it,” she said. She felt our blessing would take another route to us. I felt uneasy: What will we tell the doctor? I thought.

When we called on Sunday to tell the doctor that we wouldn’t be coming, she was shocked. “How can you do that? It has taken you so long to prepare for this and now you’re going to abandon it?” It was all very awkward, but she understood that my wife had made up her mind.

Half a year went by, during which time we indeed took upon ourselves to review and carefully follow the laws of Family Purity. At one point, there was a pregnancy – but to our great sorrow, it ended in a miscarriage. After that, I felt that we needed to travel abroad, to get some air and collect ourselves. I suggested traveling to the US for a month. “We can spend three weeks with family in Los Angeles, and then visit the Rebbe the following week,” I proposed. My wife liked the idea, with one small change: We ended up spending almost the entire month near the Rebbe, and just four days in LA.

And so, shortly before Shavuot of 1989, we came to see the Rebbe in person for the first time. On a Sunday, as the Rebbe was distributing dollars for charity, I took my place in the long line outside of 770. After several hours, it was my turn, but the moment I stepped before the Rebbe, I found myself unable to speak; the words were stuck in my throat.

Rabbi Groner, the Rebbe’s secretary, was standing nearby and helpfully tried getting something out of me. “What would you like?” he asked.

I barely managed to get the words out: “A blessing for children.”

“What is your wife’s name?” the Rebbe immediately asked.

I answered that it was Yardena, but when he then asked for her mother’s name, I started to get mixed up. By then I had already taken up too much time, and there were many more people waiting in line behind me, and so eventually someone simply took me by the shoulder and pulled me along.

I felt as though I had lost the opportunity: I wanted to ask for a blessing, but hadn’t managed to speak up. But I decided not to give up and I got back in line.

This time, when my turn came, I declared to the Rebbe: “I want a blessing for children.” The Rebbe then asked for my and my mother’s names, as well as the names of my wife and her mother. After I told the Rebbe all of the names, he said, “May you have good tidings. Blessings and success!”

A short while after our return to Israel, we discovered that Yardena was pregnant! Thank G-d, after nine months, we had a beautiful baby girl. We were overjoyed and decided to return to the Rebbe to give our thanks for the blessing that had been fulfilled so quickly.

We flew in for Shavuot of 1990, and on the Sunday after the holiday, we went by the Rebbe on the dollars line. This time we were together, with Yardena holding Oshri Simcha. When our turn arrived, I told the Rebbe: “She was born after eleven years. We were here on Shavuot last year, and received a blessing – and here is the Rebbe’s daughter!”

“She is the daughter of G-d,” replied the Rebbe, and then he blessed us again, “to raise her to Torah, marriage, and good deeds.”

We then asked for a blessing that our daughter have brothers and sisters. The Rebbe asked for her name, gave an additional dollar, and said: “May you have good tidings! And may she be a good beginning for more children.”

Four years later, our son was born, and it was “a good beginning,” as the Rebbe said: Today, thank G-d, we have eight grandchildren from that son and daughter; may they only increase.

Danny Amrami is a long-standing member of Afula’s Chabad community. Following 29 years of service in the IDF, today he serves as a shochet. He was interviewed in his home in January 2023.