(As told to Mirish Kiszner; some names have been changed to protect privacy)

Shlomo Bochner slowly made his way through the hospital ward. At the entrance to the waiting lounge he stopped and peered into the door's small, upper window. He could see Mrs. Davis sitting upright on an orange chair, holding a small prayer book with both hands. Her lips were moving quickly. Her forehead was set in an upward curve and every now and then she shut her eyes. The tears that flowed through them streamed unchecked down her face.

Shlomo sighed. It was his responsibility to tell her.

All around him the usual flurry of activity kept on. Nurses in white coats talked among themselves as they wheeled blood pressure monitors from room to room. Anonymous voices crackled through the intercom and solemn faced doctors hurried along the corridors. Shlomo did not know how long he stood there, his right hand on the doorknob, his left hand tightly clenched. He couldn't bring himself to tell her.

How could he approach Chana Davis and tell her the message that weighed on him like a stone, a boulder that would shatter her dreams?

Shlomo cleared his throat and blinked. The pain of childlessness was a familiar one to him. That was why he'd helped establish Bonei Olam (Build a World), to provide emotional and financial support for couples dealing with infertility.

When Chana and her husband Elchanan had approached him, Shlomo had perceived The doctors, whose costs were frightfully high, had written off their situation as hopeless. the severity of their situation. The doctors, whose costs were frightfully high, had written off their situation as hopeless. Shlomo had been in a quandary; if indeed the chances of success were so small, should he take on their case or channel the much needed funds to other, more hopeful cases? On the other hand, how could he turn them away? The policy of Bonei Olam was to spare no effort or expense in their quest to help childless couples.

In the end, Shlomo had turned to rabbis for perspective, and he was advised to proceed with their case. And although Shlomo normally consulted with Dr. Cornwallis, a highly acclaimed infertility expert, only as a last resort due to his exorbitant rates, this time, Shlomo didn't hesitate.

A young man holding a cup of coffee appeared at his side. Shlomo released the doorknob and moved over to the side to allow him to enter the lounge. Mrs. Davis, it seemed, hadn't noticed him yet. Coffee was a good idea. Perhaps the caffeine would help him relax and talk to Chana in a calm manner.

As Shlomo dropped his coins through the slot of the coffee machine, he thought of Dr. Cornwallis. For some reason, a conversation with the doctor that had so surprised him now replayed itself in his mind.

"Dr. Cornwallis, remember the couple from Israel, the Davises?"

"Davis? Ah, I remember now. Unfortunately Rabbi Bochner, there's not much the medical world could do for them. The high cost of treatment – ah, quite frankly Rabbi Bochner, I'm not sure it's worthwhile."

"Dr. Cornwallis, doesn't every couple deserve at least a chance?"

There was silence.


"I'm here."

"We can't turn them away. When will your schedule call for a visit to Israel? We'll do what we can. G‑d will do the rest."

"Rabbi Bochner," the doctor said after a long pause. "I'll talk to my travel agent, and Rabbi?"

"Of course we'll see to everything else. The blood work, the hospital stay…"

"Sure, sure," the doctor laughed. "I have no doubt about that. I just want to add…"

"The anesthesiologist. Certainly. That will be arranged as well."

"No, no, Rabbi Bochner, that's not what I mean. Listen. I'll take care of the flight arrangement and all that…but this time I don't want you to pay me."

Shlomo had been stunned. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, Dr. Cornwallis's usual fee, was not a small matter. But Dr. Cornwallis, inspired by the commitment of Bonei Olam had insisted on waiving his fee.

Shlomo retrieved his steaming cup and returned to the lounge. Again he stood by the door of that room. Slowly he sipped from his mug, the tears mingling with his coffee.

The minutes were ticking by and he knew that he couldn't stand there much longer. The treatment had not met with success. They had skillfully pitched their last trial and…G‑d had willed otherwise. It was Shlomo's duty to inform Mrs. Davis the stark, painful truth.

He braced myself, took a deep breath and turned the doorknob.

Mrs. Davis looked up at him, her face brightening.

Shlomo dug his hands deep in his pocket. As he would later relate, "It was the hardest moment of my life. To this day, I don't remember what I told her."

A year later…

Shlomo sat at his desk engrossed in some paperwork, when the secretary buzzed him. Somewhat distractedly, he switched on the answering machine.

As soon as the voice sounded in the machine, Shlomo sat up straight.

"Hi, this is Elchanon Davis on the line. When you have a chance please be in touch with me."

Shlomo grabbed the phone. But it was too late. The caller had hung up.

For a few moments, Shlomo sat lost in thought. Almost a year had passed since that day when he'd been compelled to give the fateful message to Chana Davis. But Chana, he soon learned, was a remarkable woman. Her husband Elchanan had filled him in on the details.

"In the taxi on the way home from the hospital," Elchanan had told him, "we sped through the quiet streets in silence, each of us absorbed in our own thoughts. I was unable to formulate my swirling thoughts and bring them into cohesive sentences. I felt as if a black cloud had enveloped me and I couldn't think straight.

"Somehow I stumbled out of the taxi. In a fog, I walked the few steps up to our front door, turned the key and weakly pushed open the door. I flicked on the switch and the room flooded with light.

"I was shocked at the scene that greeted me.

"The table in the dining room was decked in our best tablecloth and was set with my wife's finest dinnerware, the ones she used only for special occasions.

"'Well, aren't you going to hang up your coat?' My wife asked me as she lit the two candles perched on the silver candlesticks.

"I watched as the little flames leaped and danced, reaching upward.

"'We now ended a chapter in our life,' my wife said softly. Her face was bathed in the warm "We were dealt a blow today. But I don't want to be angry at G‑d." glow of the candle. 'We were dealt a blow today. I don't want to be angry at G‑d. I want to make a seudat hoda'ah (thanksgiving meal). I want to give praise to G‑d for giving you to me and me to you. We have each other. And we're not angry. We are entering the next chapter of our lives and we will not let bitterness or melancholy darken it. Let's celebrate.'

"My wife served us a magnificent meal. By the time we went to sleep, her serenity had effected a considerable change in me.

"I had slept only a few minutes, it seemed to me, when the ringing of the phone near my bed jarred me awake. The alarm clock read 5:00 a.m.

"It was someone from the hospital. They were asking me to return immediately. They had studied my chart, the caller claimed, and there was something they could do."

Shlomo knew the story well. It was a heartwarming story. A story of a woman making the will of G‑d her own will.

Already he was beaming as he pressed the Davises' phone number in the keypad.

"Hello Shlomo," Elchanan's voice was jubilant. "It's a boy. A beautiful baby boy! Chana and the baby are, thank G‑d, doing very well.

"Mazel tov! Mazel tov!" Shlomo was overcome with emotion.

"Shlomo, the brit (circumcision) is next week.""

It was a celebration he would not miss.