Dreaming About Pesach Cleaning from the ICU (2 Minute Mommy Peptalk)

Dreaming About Pesach Cleaning from the ICU (2 Minute Mommy Peptalk)

Reflections on the mother of a very ill baby and Pesach cleaning.

We spent this past Shabbat in Tsfat, and while there I met an incredibly lovely woman named Chaya.

Chaya has soft-brown eyes, a gorgeous smile. She radiates quiet joy, deep faith.

Seeing her, you would never guess that 16 months ago Chaya gave birth to a baby boy named Raphael who, for all of his 16 months in the world, has never left the ICU.

And for the last 16 months, Chaya has spent most of her waking moments by his side.

Chaya told me this Shabbat that she constantly feel torn in two. If she is with Raphael, she feels badly that she is not with her husband and older son. If she is with her husband and older son, she yearns to be with Raphael.

Chaya spent this past Shabbat out of the hospital, on a vacation with her husband in honor of their wedding anniversary. When I asked Chaya whether she always spends Shabbat in the hospital with Raphael, she thought about it and answered, “Not always, last year Seder night was on Shabbat, and so we weren’t in the hospital with him then. But it was terribly hard, I missed Raphael so much,” and she added with a huge smile, “I love spending time with him.”

“And where will you be for seder this year?” I asked her last night, two weeks minus a day until Seder night.

“The seder?” she asked, with a confused look, “I don’t know where we’ll be this year. It’s such a long time away!”

Chaya’s mother and sisters and sisters-in-law and neighbors are up to their eyeballs in bleach and oven cleaner.

But for Chaya, cleaning, cooking, shopping, organizing? Chaya can only dream about all that stuff.

And that’s what I’m thinking about today, as I try to not get sucked into my annual stress and overwhelm about everything I’ve got to get done before seder night.

I’m thinking about this woman who can only dream about getting ready for Pesach like I am, like we are.

May Raphael ben Chaya be blessed with a complete and miraculous recovery.


  1. Amen and good message for us to keep things in perspective.

  2. BS”d
    refua shlema for Rafael ben Chaya

  3. Refuah shelayma… I know about this too. We can never plan, it’s moment by moment.

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