By the Grace of G‑d
28 Tishrei, 5715 [1954]

Blessings and Greetings!114

This1 is to acknowledge receipt of your undated letter. I am replying ahead of its turn, as you requested, even before letters received by express mail, and in the order of the topics in your letter.

The beginning of your letter is surprising — that the last spark is extinguished, etc. How can a mortal know things like this? It seems that you base yourself entirely on the consideration of your age. This proves nothing, for, as is stated in the teachings of the Sages and as may clearly be seen, women older than yourself do give birth to sons and daughters.

Moreover, whoever observes G‑d’s world sees that because (in the words of the Tanach30) “Your works, O G‑d, are manifold”2 and “Your works, O G‑d, are mighty,”3 no single individual can encompass and grasp all subjects. Indeed, no individual can grasp even a significant part of them, nor even most of the matters that are in his immediate vicinity4 and that affect his own life. This is why there is a diversity of specialists in the various disciplines, and no honest man will express a definite opinion except within his own field, while in other fields he relies on their respective experts.

With regard to our subject: It is true that the Torah takes into account the opinions of doctors, which determine certain rulings in the Shulchan Aruch, and that every man and woman is obligated to follow doctors’ orders when it comes to actual practice. At the same time, however, every individual must know clearly in his heart that it is G‑d Who is the Healer of all flesh, and it is He Who literally conducts the world — that is, in the daily life of every man and woman, down to the last detail, and obviously in more basic matters.

From what you write it appears that no medical specialist’s opinion was involved in the above instance. But even if someone had been in this situation, the instances in which doctors are mistaken in such matters are innumerable, and the matter depends only on the strength of a person’s trust and his bond with the Creator of the Universe.

(This is attained by living a life of trust day by day, which as a matter of course arouses joy. There is also the joy that comes from one’s ability to do something for those in one’s environment, the merit of which is beyond measure. As the Baal Shem Tov used to say, a soul can come down to This World for 70 or 80 years — in order to do a single favor to a fellow Jew, materially or spiritually. And who more than the Baal Shem Tov could appreciate the enormity of the soul’s descent as it arrives in This World, “from a lofty height to a lowly pit.”5 Yet notwithstanding this, he made the above statement and handed it down to the succeeding generations, the generations of those who live in this ever-intensifying exile. [The challenge articulated by the Baal Shem Tov] surely applies particularly to a young woman who has not yet fully maximized her capabilities in influencing those around her, arousing within them the good that is in their souls and fortifying it with Torah — and “good signifies nothing other than the Torah”6 and its commandments. [And the obligation to do so] applies not only on Shabbos and on the Days of Awe and in exceptional circumstances, but especially and specifically in one’s everyday life, the days that some people mistakenly call “the gray days.”7 )

In fact there is no need for any lengthy exposition to explain such a simple point. One thought suffices: Every man and woman of the Jewish people, being descended from Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov, is part of the link that bonds the Creator and Creation — by living his life as it is, and especially by activities such as those described above. And this link is the ultimate purpose of the entire Creation.

It is surely superfluous for me to add that in the above words I do not intend to minimize (G‑d forbid) the subject of having a son and daughter. My only purpose is to point out the absolute truth — that there is no justification for melancholy, and certainly not (to borrow your word) for despair. Quite the contrary.

You ask about changing your place of residence, and secondly, more importantly, about taking a child into your home and raising him. This depends on the way it will influence yourself and your husband. If doing this will make you happier and will fortify your trust in G‑d that He will fulfill your request by granting you healthy and viable offspring, it is certainly a sound idea.

I believe that I once wrote to you,8 basing myself on one of the talks of my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], that even though one must do a spiritual stocktaking, one must also not do it except at certain times. Otherwise, the loss outweighs the gain. Refrain from taking stock every day or even once a week. Better to invest your gifts in positive activities directed towards influencing your environment — and the Holy One, blessed be He, recompenses “measure for measure,”9 but many times multiplied.

With blessings for joy and for good news regarding all the above,