Save the Mikvah that Saves Lives

Shluchim Rabbi Baruch and Channa Hecht are accustomed to seeing miracles as a result of people using Brentwood Mikvah. Now, they need you to make a miracle to save the mikvah.

By Mrs. Channa Hecht – Brentwood, CA

Baruch Hashem, I was born on shlichus. My parents, Rabbi Baruch Shlomo Eliyahu and Rebbetzin Odel Miriam Cunin sheyichyu were sent by the Rebbe to establish Chabad of the West Coast in 1965.

Thirty years ago, my husband, Rabbi Baruch Hecht sheyichye and I were sent on shlichus by the Rebbe to Brentwood, an upscale neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Chazal say that there are three keys that Hashem holds Himself and does not entrust to any shliach—the key to rain (which includes parnassah), the key to childbirth, and the key to techias hameisim. We have been fortunate to witness all three types of miracles in connection to our mikvah

Key to Rain

We began work on our own mikvah over 10 years ago. We spared no expense and invested a lot in the gashmius of the mikvah. It is truly a luxurious mikvah spa. Baruch Hashem, Mikvas Mei Menachem (also known as the Brentwood Mikvah) was built; the gorgeous preparation rooms were ready. There was just one problem.

In Southern California, we do not get much rain. We waited, and waited, and waited.

Now, there is another option, which is to fill the mikvah with snow. While it rarely snows in southern California, there are mountains nearby where we could collect the snow.

However, halachically this is not a simple solution. First, we would need to ascertain that the snow is real snow, as ski slopes are known to use artificial snow. The snow also has to be collected in a certain way and must stay frozen for the entire journey until it reaches the mikvah. We hired a freezer truck and a mashgiach who would go along to supervise the process.

While we were making the final preparations to collect the snow, I received a call from someone who said, “It would be so much better if your mikvah was filled by rain.” And we knew it was true. After all our efforts to make the mikvah as beautiful as possible b’gashmius, we wanted very much to have the gishmei brachah fall directly into our mikvah.

Turning to the Rebbe, we asked for a brachah. “Rebbe! We have answered your call. We have put all we had into building the mikvah b’gashmius. Please help us have the gishmei brachah fill our mikvah. We need rain!”

The very next day, it started to pour in Los Angeles. The rain lasted exactly two hours and stopped. Our mikvah was filled. This was the first revealed miracle we saw with our mikvah. 

Key to Techias Hameisim

About five years ago on Chol Hamoed Sukkos, there was a knock on our door. There was a woman standing there in her eighth month of pregnancy. She told us that she was interested in buying a house in the neighborhood, and since she saw a menorah in front of our house she decided to stop by.

We welcomed her in, and she told us that she was very happy to find such a beautiful Chabad House in the area.“Oh, by the way, we also have a beautiful mikvah,” I told her. 

“You have a mikvah here! I’ve never gone to the mikvah. I want to go!” She told me that her mother was very sick and scheduled for brain surgery, and wanted a blessing for her.

We explained to her the concept of writing to the Rebbe for a brachah, and to include a mitzvah as a vessel for the brachah. Since the Rebbe writes that mikvah saves lives, this would be an appropriate mitzvah for her to take on in honor of her mother’s complete health. At the same time it would be a blessing for her and her baby, with Hashem’s help.  

She came back the next day to write her letter to the Rebbe and learn the halachos of mikvah. She placed her letter in the Rebbe’s Igros and opened to a page with a beautiful brachah. Her mother’s surgery went perfectly and her mother made a full recovery. The baby was also born healthy, baruch Hashem.

A year later, I got another call from this woman. She told me, “I must come see you. I need to write to the Rebbe for another blessing!” She told me that she was expecting another baby and suffering from anxiety. Her mother had taken a turn for the worse and was now in a coma, hospitalized with kidney and liver failure. The doctors were expecting the worst.

She came right over. It was late at night. We went over which mitzvos to include in her letter. I explained how the Rebbe often asks us to check our mezuzos for a brachah for health. She should write that she will check her mother’s mezuzos. Also, she herself hadn’t gone to the mikvah since she went the last time after the birth of her child. She should include that she will go to the mikvah.

I then asked her, “Did your mother ever go to the mikvah?” 

“No, Mom never went.”

“Well, that’s it! The Rebbe writes that keeping mikvah saves lives! You must include in your letter that when your mother comes out of the hospital, you will bring her to the mikvah.”

“I will write that I will check Mom’s mezuzos. That I will go to the mikvah. But Mom… She’s not getting out of the hospital! The doctors say she has only three days to live!”

I told her what the Rebbe says, that doctors are given permission to heal but not to decide when someone will die, G-d forbid. Tracht gut vet zein gut. Think good [thoughts] and it will be good. Only Hashem gives life, not doctors. We all need to do our part to make a receptacle for Hashem’s blessings, both physically and spiritually. Please include this mitzvah in your letter to the Rebbe!

She wrote a letter to the Rebbe, mentioning all these hachlatos tovos in honor of her mother’s recovery. She placed the letter in Igros and opened to a page talking about how mitzvos are channels to receive all our blessings physically and spiritually. The letter concluded, “Looking forward to hearing good news regarding everything in your letter.”

I also told her to whisper into her mother’s ear, while she was in a coma, that she will take her to the mikvah when she comes out of the hospital, with Hashem’s help. I gave her a mikvah preparation packet for herself and for her mother.

A week later she called me and said, “Since we wrote that letter to the Rebbe, the doctors are amazed! My mother came out of a coma, her kidney and liver started working, and she has had a complete turnabout. She is now out of the hospital, has started counting, and is ready to go to the mikvah next week.”

Talking with the daughter the next day, we discussed how none of our neshamos are new. We are all here to do a specific mitzvah, and perhaps it’s a mitzvah we didn’t complete the last time we were here. It could very well be that her mother had come to this world just to go to the mikvah, and by her writing to the Rebbe that she will take her mother to the mikvah, this gave her the zechus to come back and fulfill her purpose. She’s now prepared to greet Moshiach in holiness and purity.

Baruch Hashem she lived for five more years after that, enjoying nachas from her children and grandchildren. 

Key to Childbirth

There was a couple that had been married for many years and was trying to have children. They had tried every treatment to no avail.

The mother called to say her daughter had been to a mekubal in Israel and had given him a large sum of money in exchange for a promise that they’d have a child, but still they did not conceive.

She asked if there was anything we could do to help. The mother and daughter came to our Chabad House. We advised them to ask the Rebbe for a brachah. I spoke to them about writing to the Rebbe and including mitzvos as vessels to receive the brachos. I suggested that they accept upon themselves to check their tefillin and mezuzos.

I also told them that the vessel to receive children is taharas hamishpachah. I offered to review the halachos with her and then she would go to the mikvah. Then I had an inspiration. I told the parents, “There are neshamos waiting to come down into this world, but they want a guarantee. They want to be born in purity. The angels in heaven try to convince the neshamah to come down to this world, because this is the only place where we can fulfill mitzvos.

“You have holy children waiting to come down to this earth. They want guarantees. Please take upon yourself and include in your letter to the Rebbe that you will raise and educate your children in Torah-true day schools.”

Baruch Hashem, she wholeheartedly agreed and included this in her letter to the Rebbe.

Nine months later, she gave birth to healthy multiple children BH!

Many years later, I met her in the kosher pizza store. She excitedly pointed at her children and said, “LOOK, Channa! I kept my promise. Look at my children!”

The children were proudly dressed with Kippah & Tztzit. Iturned to the children and pointed to the picture of the Rebbe hanging on the wall. I told them, “You are a brachah of the Rebbe! You have such holy neshamos. You were given the Bracha to be born after your mother promised to raise you with Torah and mitzvos.” 

More Miracle Children

The lady who experienced the miracles with her mother keeps sending all her friends who need miracles from the Rebbe.

She once called to say that she has a dear friend who’s been married for 10 years and is not blessed yet with children. They spent all their savings on fertility treatments and are now living in a studio apartment. The doctors told them there was nothing else they could do.

She suggested, as a last resort, to ask for a blessing from the Rebbe.The couple came in to write to the Rebbe. The Israeli husband had curly shoulder-length hair and earrings. We discussed taking on mitzvos as a vessel to receive the brachos.

I asked the husband if he puts on tefillin. The wife said, “He doesn’t even own a pair.” The husband replied, “Of course I do! It’s in the closet!” I told him to take them out, get them checked and start using them. I explained the far-reaching effect of putting on tefillin: “And all the nations of the earth will see that the Name of G-d is called upon you, and they will fear you.” I added that this brings protection to Eretz Yisroel as well. 

Then, remembering the story of the woman with triplets, I said, “And what are we going to tell the neshamos of your future children? What are you offering them? Will you give them the opportunity to do mitzvos? Will you commit to send your children to a Torah day school?”

“Well,” said the husband, “it’s not really our style.”I asked, “So what is your style? What do you believe is your purpose here on this earth?”

The husband said that he felt he was put on this earth to explore nature and have fun. I told them that exploring nature is indeed a worthy thing. It can help us get in touch with our Creator. However, the neshamah comes to this world with only one purpose, which is to do mitzvos.

The couple wrote their letter and placed in Igros Kodesh. The letter they opened spoke about the brachah of taking on mitzvos, and particularly tefillin. And then the letter quoted the same passage regarding tefillin as we had discussed!

Baruch Hashem, a year later they had twins. The twins are now three years old.

Two Keys Together

The Rebbe speaks about the importance of spreading the miracles, and how this is an important way to bring the Geulah.

After the miracle of the woman whose mother came out of a coma after she wrote to the Rebbe that she would take her mother to the mikvah (see above), we spread the story far and wide. This gave the idea to my sister to do the same.

My sister, Geulah Bracha Newman, tells this story:

There was a woman in our community who had two children and was pregnant with her third. Unfortunately, she developed toxemia and fell into a coma.

Her family came over to write to the Rebbe for a brachah. They wrote a letter and included a hachlatah that she would go to the mikvah. They opened the Igros to a page that discussed the brachah of taharas hamishpachah.

I told her family to whisper in her ear that when she wakes up from her coma, they will take her to the mikvah. Within a few weeks she woke up and was discharged from the hospital, but was still very weak. She was on bed rest and not able to leave her room. The doctors said they were not sure that the child would be born healthy.

I reminded them of the Rebbe’s blessing and their hachlatah to bring her to the mikvah. Her husband asked her if she felt up to going to the mikvah. She said yes, she wanted to go. She was very excited!

We taught her everything she needed to know about going to the mikvah. She came to immerse in the beautiful Brentwood mikvah, Mikvas Mei Menachem. She brought a long list of people to daven for, and took her time in prayer. The following week, when the baby was full-term, she went into labor. She had a fully natural, uncomplicated delivery and the child was born perfectly healthy. He is five years old now.

Please continue saving lives

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