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Sep 21 2012

What Happens if the Rabbi’s Wife Gives Birth on Yom Kippur?

By at 11:42 am

pregnant woman holding applesMy husband and I started dating when we were 20 and 18. Not too long after that, we had a discussion about the size family we would like to have one day. At the time, he was living in an attic apartment above a family of six kids. He loved watching them interact and play with each other, as well as help each other when needed. So, he said he wanted six kids. This is how the rest of the conversation went:

Me:  No, that’s just too many.

Him: Okay, how many do you want?

Me: Three.

Him: Too few….How about four?

Me: Okay.

Him: …and a dog

Me: Deal!

Seventeen years later, I am wise enough to know how many obstacles could have gotten in the way of that plan. So, when it was confirmed that I was pregnant and the due date for our fourth child was September 29, 2012, I knew not to take it for granted. Then I had two more thoughts: 1) Wow, it’s gonna be a long, hot, pregnant summer. 2) Oh no! When are the holidays this year?

You see, in addition to being a husband and a father, my husband is also a congregational rabbi. That means the High Holidays are his BUSY season. But, a baby will come when it wants to come, and so here we are–with a due date just three days after Yom Kippur and the day before Erev Sukkot.

We’ve had all kinds of questions and suggestions about the timing. My husband has explained that, yes, he intends to be at the hospital with me as our new child is born, even if that means he misses giving a sermon. We chose to not follow the advice of those who suggested being induced in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur just to make sure the baby didn’t come on Yom Kippur. We did decide to host the smallest Rosh Hashanah meals we’ve ever had (just nine of us–five from our immediate family and four grandparents) and to accept the kind, yummy offer from our parents to make most of the meal and bring it down with them.

And while I knew that the timing of the High Holidays would make things a bit more complicated, there were definitely things I didn’t consider. For example, when my kosher frozen meat for the holiday was delivered from Baltimore last Sunday, my husband was busy all day with various activities and we hadn’t known what time the meat was arriving to plan ahead. It was a warm day so leaving the meat in the car until the evening was just not an option. That left it to me to lug in 30 pounds of meat from the car–quite a feat with my already extra 30 pounds of belly. Another complication was our yearly Rosh Hashanah cards, which I personalize with our family members’ names. I anxiously awaited the cards this year and plan to turn them around and get them in the mail in one day so that they are sent before a fourth child arrives and makes them obsolete.

But perhaps the best, unexpected impact of this baby’s due date is the true feeling of re-birth and opportunity I am experiencing this year. This baby is the sweetest way to begin anew–to look at the world and myself with fresh eyes, to find the good and to work to grow it into the great, so that next year when our child is almost 1, we can see how much we’ve all grown and changed for the better.

For more on Yom Kippur, learn how to get your kids to say I’m sorry, why God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, and take our Yom Kippur quiz.


Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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