How Many Mothers does it take to produce one Moses?

Melbourne’s famous Rabbi Chaim Gutnick once related this story:

During one of his annual visits to New York, he visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who suggested that he and his wife organize a series of classes for Jewish women on the meaning and laws of “family purity,” the Jewish perspective on marriage, relationships, intimacy, the laws of mikvah (the spiritual ritual bath used by women at the conclusion of their periods before intimacy with their husbands). Yet Rabbi Gutnink felt that Melbourne Jewry was not yet ripe for the concept of mikvah. But the Rebbe insisted that an attempt must at least be made. Rabbi Gutnick agreed to try it out.

Upon returning home to Australia, he and his wife organized this series of classes on mikvah and family purity. It was advertized and promoted, preparations were made to welcome a large group of women. Yet alas, as the time came, only one woman showed up to the lecture!

 [For those of us who make events, we know, that the only thing worse than no one showing up at an event is one person showing up. If no one came, you get at least to go home early… and you can tell everyone the following day that President Obama was there, and that it was “unbelievable.” But when one person shows up—oy gevald… bushes vecharpos, it’s embarrassing.]

For the following week’s lecture, Rabbi Gutnick was hoping for more attendance. But, lo and behold, it was the same woman who showed up again. No one else. And so week after week, only this woman attended. The Rabbi had to give her the class; he would not send her home after she exerted herself to come. But he felt like a true failure.

One year later, he was in NY again. Upon visiting the Rebbe, the Rebbe wanted to know how did the series on family purity go?

Rabbi Gutnick told the Rebbe that his fears were indeed confirmed. It was the wrong choice.

“What happened?” the Rebbe was eager to know.

Rabbi Gutnick related to the Rebbe with a bit of shame how he and his wife organized and promoted the event, worked hard to prepare for it, etc. Yet, notwithstanding all their labor, only one woman—the same woman—showed up for each of the classes. From all of Melbourne Jewry, only one woman was interested enough in learning about mikvah. So he gave her the class, but he felt that the entire attempt turned out to be futile.

The Rebbe’s face grew very serious, as he told Rabbi Gutnick:

“Reb Chaim! Zag mir, vifel mames hat Moshe Rababu gehat? Mer vi ein mame?”

“Tell me, how many mothers did Moses have? Did he have more than one mother?”

The Rebbe was telling Rabbi Gutnick, how can you underestimate the power of sharing this information with even a single Jewish woman? It was not 100 women who gave birth to Moses; it was one mother! Can you know that from this one woman a Moses won’t be born?

Abort or Not Abort is the Question

Beyond the idea in Jewish law that a fetus has a life, and a soul, one also does not know who they are aborting. One might be aborting a little Moses.

Let me ask you a question:

Question #1

If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis; would you recommend that she have an abortion?

And by the way: Answer to the abortion question #1: If you said yes, you just killed Beethoven.