In the operating room I can't breathe. Inside of me there is a beautiful baby, a life waiting to begin. But I feel like I am literally on the edge, suspended between life and death. The fluorescent lights on the ceiling are glaring, blurring my vision and forcing me to close my eyes. I am more helpless than I have ever been even though this is my fifth child. As I struggle to breathe calmly through the oxygen mask, I wonder fleetingly if I felt this vulnerability with my other births. And for a split second I remember that I did. That if there if ever a moment when a person must completely give up all semblance of control, it is now. Giving birth.

I feel like I am literally on the edge, suspended between life and deathBut now for half a second, I know there is another moment, perhaps even more vulnerable. When a person is on the edge of death. When she sees her life suddenly on the edge of all it was supposed to be. When the minutes become seconds. When the seconds become milliseconds. When all you have wanted, spoken or been crashes into one last moment. And you wonder: How much longer do I have? And if I have a minute, an hour, a day what will I do with it? Do I deserve this extra time? And what am I supposed to with it if it is granted?

And there I am, perched on the edge of birth and death, merged into each other. How can it be? I am terrified. I am so far from my potential. How often have I devoted my life to the mundane details of the day? And now here I am. About to be judged. And I have no merits. No evidence. What do I have? Only potential, waiting so patiently in the wings of my life. And here I am, my arms pinned down, an IV coursing through my body, unable to answer this most basic question: Why should I continue to live?

I think of so many answers that aren't sufficient. Because I love my husband. Because I love my children. So many die loving those they leave behind. So maybe it's because I have so much to give? But what and how? I have no idea. I am pinned down. Stuck. And then I look up at the blank, white ceiling, and I begin to cry: Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad. The words fall into each other, over and over again. The tears stream under the oxygen mask, down my cheeks-there is literally nothing except for my Father, my King who is sustaining every breath that I take. Here is birth. And here is death. And there is only one Judge who stands on the edge.

Please, please give me one more chance to live.

After the baby is born, I stare at him in wonder. I remember the long months of pregnancy. How it all felt like so much endless, heavy suffering. How I couldn't breathe in the end. How I reached out my arms for help and how He held me despite all my complaints and protests. Now my tears won't stop. They course down onto newborn cheeks, so close to the air of heaven, another world now so far away.

But we were there together, weren't we? A newborn life and a life struggling to reach its potential, intertwined with each other: Only the neediness of this baby can justify my life- I realize this as the first cries of my son echo throughout the operating room. And there he is. An ancient, wrinkled face. Eyes full of new hope and light. So blue they are full of the water of all the oceans pouring into each other. Brighter than the sky. Full of the holiness of the past world and the next world colliding into each other.

Only the neediness of this baby can justify my lifeI feel like apologizing to him. My precious, beautiful child. I want to be as pure as you. But I am so very far. And then I remember His Arms. Didn't He hold me? Didn't He bring me from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur? Didn't He show me that a new sukkah can rise despite the heaviness and the doubt? Didn't He have faith in me when I lost my own grounding? Didn't He breathe for me? Hold every movement in my body and return it to me?

And now here I am- in a new home with a new baby; and I finally see the truth. That He is the walls and the content within the walls. That He is all I have. That when I said "Echad" I meant One. That despite everything that confuses us, there is only One Comfort. That He holds us all. And in our sukkahs, we can access His comfort more than at any other time. Because the walls of the sukkah are His arms, surrounding us with kindness and hope. Because He believes in us.

Every day that He grants us is another message: I believe in you. I give you life and shelter because you can use it. Hold Me and I will hold you. In the sukkah. Breathe in. Breathe out. I will hold you on the edge, between life and death. In the sukkah. After the judgment, I will hold you. After the baby is born, I will give you back your breath. I will hold you. Because I believe in you. Wrap yourself within the walls of the sukkah. In My Arms. I will hold you. Always. On the edge. In the mundane. I am here.