A Miracle in Hungary: Sentenced to Life by Miriam Yehudis Steiner

A Miracle in Hungary: Sentenced to Life by Miriam Yehudis Steiner

My daughter is called Dina Chaya. Isn’t that a nice name?

Not too long after our marriage my husband and I were discussing names that we liked for children and he came up with the name Dina – and all of a sudden I felt hit on my chest and the world darkened for a second and I knew that I was experiencing the so-called prophecy of parents when choosing names for their children.

Before that, when my wonderful and beloved grandmother Chaya had passed away I made a promise that if I’d be blessed with a baby girl one day I’d name her after this grandmother.

So that is how we decided to name our firstborn daughter Dina Chaya.

Soon after Chaya Dina was born I was thinking about how could I translate her name to my native Hungarian, and I realized her names come from the roots „Din” meaning judgment and „Chay” meaning life. So her name means something like sentenced to life.

I found this explanation especially beautiful since her pregnancy had been high risk and our doctor had informed us that she would probably have special needs. So we were davening for her health until she was born. But, B”H, in the end she was a tiny little baby but with none of the diseases we had been warned about.

Hashem had mercy on us and our Dina Chaya was sentenced to life.

More than three years passed until we had to face again how much her name fits her.

Miriam Yehudis last year at a wedding with her 2 children Dina Chaya and Yudah Aaron

By that time we were blessed with an extraordinary son. And on one hot summer day I was preparing for Shabbos at my parent’s cottage where we spend the summer months.

Dina Chaya went out to the garden to pick up her shoes from the front of the house. But several minutes later we realized she hadn’t come back.

My mom and I searched around calling her– but there was no answer. I ran to the window and saw the most horrific thing I ever saw: Dina floating in the pool facing down, unconscious.

Anyone who heard my scream of horror that day will remember it forever. I was sure my wonderful daughter had passed away, God forbid.

But Hashem again had mercy on us, though at that moment I didn’t feel that way.

Soon after I pulled her out of the pool, Dina Chaya regained consciousness, but she remained lethargic for the trip to the hospital and throughout the doctors’ testing.

I remember standing at the hospital room window, looking out at the sky. It was already Shabbos and instead of enjoying myself at the Shabbos table I was listening to the beeping of computers that were checking my daughter’s vital functions.

My husband still hadn’t arrived at the hospital. So I was all alone. I was angry at Hashem, and I was arguing with him. Why did He do this to my child?

Dina Chaya was so scared of water for her whole life. What made her suddenly change her mind and walk down to the swimming pool?

I knew it was our fault for not being more careful, but somehow I had the feeling that this was a punishment for us for something we had done. I was so angry at Him for putting this punishment on my beloved child. I couldn’t even blink without seeing her floating in the water.

The next day, my Dina Chaya regained consciousness, b”H. And she turned to me and asked: “Is Hashem angry at me for falling into the swimming pool?”

I was shocked to hear my terrible thoughts of punishment coming out of my daughter’s mouth. I immediately answered, and understood that it was 100% true the moment the words came out of my mouth, “No! He is definitely not. He was holding you and protecting you until I got there.”

And this was the truth– I’ll never know why this had to happen to Dina Chaya, but I do know for certain that Hashem was there guarding her.

The doctors didn’t believe Dina Chaya could survive unscathed, without any brain damage. But miraculously, she did. We left the hospital 3 days later with a healthy child, with no brain damage, with no lung damage.

My Dina Chaya was sentenced to life yet again.

Dina Chaya last week at her gan's Chanukah party

Here is Dina Chaya at this year’s Chanukah party. When I was watching her singing all the Hebrew songs and dancing like a princess, I thanked Hashem for the millionth time for guarding her.

Hashem blessed us with prophecy when we named her, and He fulfilled that prophecy with the miracles that have blessed her life.

May Hashem continue to sentence my precious daughter to life until 120…

I live in Budapest, Hungary with my husband and two children, Dina Chaya (4.5) and Yudah Aaron (2). I’m the news columnist for Hungary’s weekly Chabad magazine and Chabad website. I also have my own customized kosher cakes business. Click here to visit my blog. One small request: my elderly grandmother doesn’t know about this upsetting story, so if any of you know her, please do not share this secret with her 🙂


  1. wow… this story gives me chills. And you’re children KH are BEAUTIFUL!May you have nachas from them:)

  2. Amazing, how by mothering your child you were able to make a complete switch between the “childlike” anger at Hashem and the realization that it was really an enormous kindness and a miracle. Sometimes just being a mother elevates us to levels of spiritual greatness we didn’t know were there.

    Incredible story and lovely children!

  3. Wow, omygosh. I have 2 young girls and the thought of such an experience causes chills up my spine, especially because my parents have a pool. Thank you for sharing, I am so happy you recognizr Hashem’s hand in your blessed life and can share only good news with us. I wish your blog was in English!

  4. Much can be said about these heart-stopping stories. I’ll focus on the part that stands out for me. Each time, the doctors predicted a horrible outcome. I suppose one could say that the doctors’ dire words are what elicited more heartfelt tefillos from you which resulted in blessed outcomes. Still, it bothers me very much, especially in pregnancy, when doctors make women CRAZY with fright, ruining the joy of the pregnancy, and OFTEN the outcomes are nothing like what they predicted.

  5. I sucked in my breath as I read your beautifully written story. Baruch Hashem is all I can say!

  6. Wow! I think this is my favorite miracle story. Thanks for running this series, Jenny.

  7. Bs´D
    Beautiful Story¡ Thank you for sharing.

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