Reprinted with permission of the author, Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, from "In the Footsteps of the Maggid", Mesorah Publications, pages 86-88

Divinely Synchronized

Rabbi Shimon Gutman,* a well-known talmid chacham who served for many years as a rav in New York and then as dean of a yeshivah in Jerusalem, is today the mara d'asra in a community he founded in a city in Israel.

In 1986, a young woman living in Tsefas, Mrs. Adina Efrat,* came to visit Rabbi Gutman following a lecture he had given in Moshav Chilkiyahu. She had been married for eight years and had only one child. She was coming now to ask for a berachah(blessing) that she be able to conceive.

Rabbi Gutman, who has taught thousands of men and women throughout his life, explained to the young woman that giving a berachah for something of this nature was not within his parameter. "I am a teacher. I study Torah with people. I discuss hashkafah (Jewish philosophy) with those who seek guidance," he said to the woman. "But for what you seek, you must go to a very holy person -- a tzaddik -- someone known for his blessings and prayers, someone known to have been answered from Above."

The distressed young woman would not be put off. She insisted that because she had heard so much about Rabbi Gutman from his students, she wanted a berachah specifically from him.

Again and again he explained that berachos are serious matters laden with holy intensity and sincere prayers by those who offer them. "Berachos," Rabbi Gutman explained, "are not merely flippant wishes for good fortune and attainment."

His arguments were to no avail. Mrs. Efrat, who was a baalas teshuvah (one who had come to Torah Judaism of her own volition), said that she didn't know any tzaddikim, Rebbes or any other prominent Roshei Yeshivah whom she could easily relate to or speak openly with. That is why she desired to receive a berachah from Rabbi Gutman.

He thought quietly for a few moments and then said to Mrs. Efrat, "I want you to know that I feel your anguish and I share your pain. I myself have a daughter living in Milwaukee, who has been married for more than ten years and has never borne a child. The Gemara (Bava Kama 92A) instructs us

'If one has a problem and prays for another who has the identical problem, he who has prayed will be answered first.'

Let us make an agreement between us. You pray for my daughter and I will pray for you."

Now it was Mrs. Efrat who was struck by another's anguish. The personal pain that Rabbi Gutman had unexpectedly shared with her, and the unique suggestion he proposed, bonded the young woman with the renowned individual who sat before her. She felt an inner serenity and knew that regardless of what the future held, her trip had been worthwhile.

Mrs. Efrat left the moshav and went back home to Tzefas. In the ensuing months Rabbi Gutman did not hear from her, nor did he discuss the matter with his own daughter, Mrs. Devorah Shain,* in Milwaukee. In the course of time Rabbi Gutman's daughter and son-in-law adopted a child.

Five years went by, but the incident with the young woman was on Rabbi Gutman's mind almost daily. And then he heard that his own daughter was expecting a child! The Gutman and Shain families were ecstatic as they anxiously awaited the great event. One day Rabbi Gutman unexpectedly received a letter from Mrs. Efrat. She wrote that she had heard the good news that Rabbi Gutman's daughter was expecting a child. She wished to tell Rabbi Gutman that she, too, b'ezras Hashem was going to give birth in a few months.

The doctors in Milwaukee had given Mrs. Shain the date they thought she would give birth, but her little girl was born two weeks later than the "due" date. Little Faige Elisheva arrived on the 15th day of Shevat (1991).

A few days later Rabbi Gutman received an excited call from Mrs. Efrat. The doctors had given her a "due" date but her infant son arrived earlier than expected. "He was born just a few days ago," she said excitedly. Rabbi Gutman asked her the exact date of birth, and was stunned by her reply. The boy's birthday was the 15th day of Shevat! Incredibly, the infant girl in Milwaukee and the newborn boy in Israel had been born on the same day!

According to human calculation the baby girl had come late and the baby boy had come early, but in reality their arrivals had been Divinely synchronized. Because of the prayers that had been offered, the children would forever be united by time of a different standard.

* Due to personal nature of this story, names were changed by personal request

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