Last year, in a post I referred to as an antidote to the meraglim, I discussed one of the many, many things I love about our wonderful Land: namely, the fact that Israel is a Jewish country. What follows is yet another example of this amazing phenomenon:
A Tale of Two Hospitals
In the comment section to my post on Israeli maternity wards, I reported that in the States, I gave birth in a Catholic hospital and added that:
“The hospital's logo - which included a cross - appeared on the hospital gowns, and each room had a small wooden crucifix on the wall.”
Now, as some of you know, one of the Shiputzim kids was born right before Christmas.
Unsurprisingly, this meant that the entire hospital was awash in trees and holiday decorations. In addition - despite my covered hair and YZG’s unmistakable kippah – many of the nurses kept gushing about our “lovely holiday present,” and at one point, I even found myself being serenaded by a group of carolers.
Fast forward to when our first sabra was born, and I was going to have to spend Shabbat in an (Israeli) hospital.
I was somewhat apprehensive about this, but as it turned out, I needn’t have worried.
On Friday afternoon, the staff placed a large table covered with Shabbat candles right outside the maternity dining room.
At first, I wondered why they had bothered setting up that many candles. After all, a significant portion of the women on the ward didn’t appear to be outwardly observant.
But sure enough, when the time came, almost every candle was lit.
Secular, traditional, national-religious, haredi – the divisive and meaningless labels faded away, and standing side by side, the new mothers welcomed the Shabbat as one.
And then, on Friday night – just as we were sitting down to eat - one of the mothers got up and announced that if anyone was interested, she was making kiddush.
Immediately, every. single. woman in the room rose to her feet and stood in respectful silence for the duration of the kiddush. And when it was over, everyone responded with a loud, heartfelt, and awe-inspiring “Amen”.
Words can’t do justice to that incredible, only-in-Israel moment.
However, I can tell you that as I wiped away a few not-so-surreptitious tears, I looked around the room and noticed that many of the other women were similarly overcome by their emotions…
May this beautiful achdut (unity) become an everyday occurrence, and may we soon be privileged to witness the final Geulah (Redemption).
.יה”ר שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו
Have an easy and meaningful fast.