Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Noam Elimelech & three souls

As Noam stood over the grave of Rabbi Elimelech he beseeched the tzadik and
said: "You will be our advocate before Hashem! I came here to pray not for
one soul, not for two but for three."

A true story originally sent to me by someone translated from the Hebrew:

Six years went by Dorit and Noam Sherman were childless. These were
unbearably difficult years.

"I married at twenty," she said. "All my friends were talking about their
pregnancy and it seemed that we all would travel the predictable route in
But it seems that Hashem intended me to travel another route. Tracks my
bridal instructor did not even dream about teaching us or preparing us for."

Today she has not forgotten the hard times, and she gives talks to
strengthen girls, single women and women, in conversations she tells about
everything from the perspective of faith and how she contended with issues.

Every time I passed by my neighbor she was yelling out the window, Dorit,
soon you'll have a son. Sefardic mentality is something that is open and
Everyone has problems, everyone knows about the problems and takes care of
the other's well being.

"Following treatment at the Lod fertility center the Sherman family applied
for adoption. "All these years we argued that despite the many virtues that
we tried, the most important attribute is mental health, and from the depths
of his despair. A member of a group traveling to kivrei tzadikim turnred to
Noam and suggested he join them on a pilgrimage to Rabbi Elimelech Lizhensk
before Rosh Hashanah. The group was missing a minyan, and Noam was the tenth

As Noam stood over the grave of Rabbi Elimelech he beseeched the tzadik and

"You will be our advocate before Hashem! I came here to pray not for one
soul, not for two but for three." (He meant himself his wife and his yet
unborn child, those words would be more prophetic than he realized.)

After the trip the sixth fertility treatment was carried out and with the
amazement of the doctors three embryos were fertilized.

But then the Shermans faced a difficult dilemma. Almost all the physicians
recommended a procedure known as dilution.

"We did not have any questions. We had consulted with the Puah Institute's
Rabbi Burstein, and with Prof. Simcha Yagel and received the blessings of
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt and decided not to dilute, not to abort.

"Dorit's pregnancy was accompanied by alot of physical stress. Great fear of
premature labor with gloomy prophecies of the doctors about the health of
affected embryos. "I lay still in bed almost the entire pregnancy and Baruch
Hashem the children were safe and sound."

At the end of the 36th week with praise to Hashem the triplets were born:
Hillel Argaman and the third named Choshen Elimelech - named, of course,
after the holy Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk.

A year later Noam went to the zion of Rabbi Elimelech to thank Hashem for
what happened to us. After five years we went for further treatment.

This time the first treatment worked and again three embryos were fertilized
and she was carrying once again three fetuses, a really rare occurence.

Pregnant with the second trio the question of fetal reduction was even
greater - the doctors told me unequivocally to dilute.
They did not understand why I should the risk my own health and the
children's when there was already a healthy threesome.

Fortunately, we turned to Professor Galiakstein at Kaplan Hospital who has
studied 3000 women with twins and triplets in Italy.
There the Catholics are not allowed to dilute at all.

He encouraged us and believed that because my body has been carrying
triplets before this trio would be much simpler.

Noam Dorit were happy to cooperate with the story on Channel 2 News in
Israel, following the spokesman of the hospital during labor in order that
the miracle be publicized and to glorify the name of Hashem.

On that Motzaei Shabbos, Saturday night the story aired on Channel 2
centered on the birth of Elroi, Malka and Niggun-Shimon.

The Shermans did not know how much of an influence their story would make.

Etti Algrisi also a resident of Lod and not rekigiously observant, was
"accidently" watching television in a non routine time when the story of the
Sherman family aired and came on the screen.

Etti had gave birth to her first daughter after three long difficult years
of waiting and treatments.

When the Algrisi couple went for treatment once again the doctors told her
that she had three fertilized egg.
Etti was wondering what to do and her doctors explained to her that their
chances of survival were very low.

"I laughed at the hospital and said worst case scenario we will have a
football team," remembers Etti.

"When the outcome was positive and we saw three fetuses on the ultrasound we
became upset." It threw back into a state of confusion.

"We did not know how to deal with triplets. A family with one child to
become a family of four children overnight!?
We were worried about the economic hardships and the various technical

"The Physicians encouraged them to undergo dilution in order not to
compromise the treatment.
One day, they introduced us to the department manager and for the first time
he explained to us how they were going to do the dilution.

He described it in a dry manner: 'We take the needle, and insert it...'
My husband had a very hard time hearing this description. Apparently his
Sefardi Moroccan background woke up and he could not stand the idea.
"No way, 'he said,' I am not killing any child of mine.

"At the time I actually thought that logically the dilution was necessary.

The doctor strengthened me and clarified that what I decided counts because
it's my body.
I set an appointment to come before the committee on Sunday to stop the
pregnancy and do the fetal reduction on Monday."

As mentioned above, that Saturday night before I had seen the committee, the
Algrisis were watching the News.
It was the same story with me and my husband and we saw Noam and Dorit with
two healthy triplets against all odds, against how the doctors had
"The doctors let us understand that there is no chance of triplets surviving
and they also frightened me that they can come out retarded or with
defects," explains Eti.
I remember thinking to myself for the first time: 'I am carrying living
triplets. It gave me something to think about. At the end of the news
program I realized that the couple live here in Lod.

Because they lived so close and not at the other end of the country I felt I
had to talk with Dorit and hear about another option.
Ten minutes earlier I would not have thought it as realistic. At that moment
I called to information and asked for all the phone numbers of all the
Shermans in Lod.
I dialed the first phone numbers and Noam answered the phone. I said: I do
not know if I called the right place, I'm looking for Dorit and Noam
Noam introduced himself and was open and cordial, he gave the phone to Dorit
and they invited me to their home and she gave me the strength and faith to
believe you can give birth to triplets and raise them and that it was not

She explained that the possible economics and the technical difficulties are
all part of the tests that Hashem gives us and that what He chooses for us
is ultimately what will be.

" I canceled the commission and the appointment. I prayed to Hashem to give
me the strength to deal with what needs to happen.
Many prayers accompanied my pregnancy and the entire Torah community here
prayed for me.
We decided to go against the opinion of the doctors to have the triplets.

Every time I felt I was feeling low during pregnancy, I would call Dorit and
she always knew how to strengthen me.
But how did all this change come about against the advice of all those smart
and important doctors?
"First of all,' answers Eti, "Its a connection to the strong faith and her
connection to Hashem. I'm not religious but that lifestyle has something
Especially in faith she was able to reach me. In principle, my inner faith
connects more than science. And then there's the magic of the Sherman
They seemed relaxed and calm and it seemed we were going crazy.
I saw you could actually get along with triplets.
I saw that if she can do it and if that's what Hashem gave me that I
probably can too.
I had my children, Jonathan, Ofir and Amir.
"I could never had reached this courageous decision without the support of
Eti concludes: "Today I counsel people, first of all listen to your heart."

Noam was praying at the grave of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk and said, "You
will be our advocate before Hashm, I came here to pray not for one, not for
two but for the three." Three sets of triplets.

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022 / eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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