We always wondered why we never saw my mother wearing her wedding ring. It was only once I heard the following story that the mystery was solved:

For Chassidim, the annual tradition of providing financial support the Rebbe's household, known as maamad, is a cherished, deeply held one, and an expression of devotion to their Rebbe. But before one of my father’s trips to the Rebbe Rayatz to request a blessingfor children, he had no money to bring, on account of his dire financial situation. My father did not want to forego on giving something, and he discussed it with my mother, saying painfully, “How can I go to the Rebbe without maamad!?

It seemed to my mother at that moment as though my father was glancing at the wedding ring on her finger. She didn’t hesitate a moment. My mother took off the ring and gave it to my father, as if to say, “What do I need this for if we don’t have children?”

When my father entered the Rebbe’s room for his audience, he presented the Rebbe with the ring, saying, “My wife sent this for maamad.”

At the time, the Tomchei Temimim yeshivah found itself in dire financial straits of its own. The Rebbe appreciated my mother’s devotion tremendously and decided to use the ring to ease the yeshivah's state. He instructed that a public auction be arranged in which the ring would be sold. However, unlike a regular auction, every bid would have to be paid, although the ring itself would only be given to the highest bidder. In this manner, a substantial sum of money was raised for the yeshivah.

The Rebbe's Promise is Fulfilled

Several years had passed since my parents’ marriage, and they had not yet been blessed with a child. My parents visited doctors, and the prognosis was that my mother would never bear children. My mother once cried to my father, “If ten years will pass since our marriage and we will not have children, we will have to divorce. Why should you continue to suffer? You can get married to someone else who will bear you children!”

My father said that if in Heaven it was decreed that he should have children, they would come from her, since the Rebbe had promised that they would have children. He also pointed out that the Rebbe had said children, in plural.

Still, after hearing what my mother had said, my father decided to write of the doctors' bleak predictions to the Rebbe. As the doctors put it, he wrote, my mother would have children only when hair grew on the palms of their hands! The Rebbe’s response was that my mother should go to an even more prominent specialist. I believe the Rebbe mentioned the city of Kiev.

My parents went to Kiev and made an appointment with a specialist. After examining my mother, he said in surprise, “Who told you that she can’t bear children?”

When my mother heard this, she nearly fainted. After she recovered, the doctor gave her some medication, and within a short time she was pregnant with my older sister, Fruma Sarah.

My parents told the Rebbe the good news, and the Rebbe wrote back that they would have a healthy child.

When my mother went to the hospital in Kharkov to give birth, R. Itche der Masmid, the much revered Chassid and community stalwart, suggested that she take the Rebbe’s letter with her to the hospital to put under her pillow. When R. Itche heard the happy news that my mother had given birth to a healthy baby girl, he was overcome with joy. He had understood from the Rebbe’s response that they would have a girl, he said, since the Rebbe had not mentioned that they would have a healthy son. R. Itche farbrenged in their home all week. When my mother returned from the hospital, she found the house in a state of total disarray.

My mother enjoyed relating that when the baby would cry, my father would jokingly say, “Who is crying? The daughter of Bracha the akara – the barren woman?”

She also related that when my father first saw the baby, he said, “Are you sure this is our child and they didn’t exchange ours for another baby? It doesn’t matter to me to whether she resembles her father or her mother more; all I want to make sure is that she’s ours!”