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Mea Shearim - At 52 Rebbetzin Gives Birth To Twins After 33 Years

Published on: March 21, 2011 09:21 AM
By:  Ynet News
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Mea Shearim - For 33 years, the Rebbe of the Mevakshei Emunah Hasidism in Jerusalem prayed for a miracle that would help his wife become pregnant and give him a son.

On Friday it almost happened: At the age of 52, Rabbi Yoel Kahn’s wife gave birth to twin girls, which brought him a lot of happiness but not the heir he had been waiting for.

Rabbi Kahn and his wife, both offspring of noble ultra-Orthodox families, were married in Jerusalem in 1978 and settled in the neighborhood of Mea Shearim. They tried to conceive a child for years, but were unsuccessful despite dozens of fertility treatments and the family members’ prayers.

Rabbi Kahn is the younger brother of the leaders of the Toldot Aharon and Toldot Avraham Yitzhak Hasidism, whose members are nicknamed “zebras” due to their striped coats. Thirteen years ago he founded his own small Hasidism, called Mevakshei Emunah.

The Hasidism is comprised of only 30 families, but every week the Rebbe visits a different community in Israel in a bid to recruit followers, and so many people across the country were aware of the couple’s attempts to conceive and prayed for the fertility treatments’ success.

All that time, the Rebbe himself was not worried. His followers say he was convinced he would eventually become a father. According to rumors in the Hasidism, before his death the Rebbe’s father promised his son that he would have children.

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Eventually, the Rebbetzin became pregnant and gave birth to twin girls at the age of 52, after 33 years of infertility. The babies were born on pregnancy week 31 and were immediately placed in an incubator.

According to sources in the Hasidism, the rabbi’s wife initially carried three fetuses – two girls and a boy – but the boy did not survive.

Rabbi Kahn’s Hasidim rushed to the hospital to celebrate the joyous occasion with drinks and dances. “It’s a Purim miracle,” one of them said. “We are called ‘Mevakshei Emunah’ (faith seekers), and now we see that three decades of faith did help.”

Another Hasid explained that “today fertility treatments are not such a big deal in the haredi sector, and anyone who needs them can do it. Judaism wants us to try to have children, and even if people don’t talk about it – it’s clear to everyone that treatments were involved.”

And what about a successor to lead the Hasidism after the Rebbe’s death? The Hasidim are not giving up and hope Rabbi Kahn will still have a son. “You can have children till the age of 55,” one of them says. “We continue to pray with complete faith that our rabbi will also be blessed with a son.”


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1

 Mar 21, 2011 at 09:28 AM DavidMoshe Says:

"At the age of 52, Rabbi Yoel Kahn’s wife gave birth to twin girls, which brought him a lot of happiness but not the heir he had been waiting for."
He's not going to gripe about this, is he? Here's a thought-- since his daughters are almost certainly going to have arranged marriages, why not pick an appropriate successor as a son-in-law?

2

 Mar 21, 2011 at 09:53 AM Anonymous Says:

Or a son-in-law failing that - either way we will see

3

 Mar 21, 2011 at 09:59 AM charliehall Says:

May one or both of the girls become the next Rebbecca Gratz, Sarah Schnirer, or Nechama Leibowitz!

4

 Mar 21, 2011 at 10:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Mazeltov! It's wonderful news. May the babies give their parents much Yiddishe, Chassidishe nachas. But what is wrong with daughters? It's such a terrible thing if one has ehrliche sons-in-law instead? Are they worried about not having a Kaddishel? This obsession with sons is ridiculous. Remember the old adage: "a son is a son till he takes him a wife; a daughter's a daughter all of her life."

Believe me, the best daughter-in-law is not the same as a daughter. The parents shouldn't be obsessing about not having a son; rather, they should enjoy the babies they were given by G-d. Now we understand why many (B"H not all) Chassidim treat their wives & daughters as second-class citizens. I'm Chassidish, so I know what I'm talking about.

5

 Mar 21, 2011 at 10:14 AM mashke Says:

"According to sources in the Hasidism, the rabbi’s wife initially carried three fetuses – two girls and a boy"
is this what Chasidim are busy with?

6

 Mar 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM Reb Yona Says:

First, i wish the Rebbe a hearthfull Mazel Tov. may the children be well and bring much of nachas to the Rebbe and the Rebetzin.

now afew comments on this article.
1) The Rebbe's last name is Kohn and not Kahn

2) "twin girls, which brought him a lot of happiness but not the heir he had been waiting for." how stupit can one be to write such a comment. i'm sure the Rebbe can't be any happier than he's now, being able to hold two baby girls

3) "whose members are nicknamed “zebras”". never heard this nickname. if anything, they're called "Reb Arolach"

4) "every week the Rebbe visits a different community in Israel in a bid to recruit followers". anybody who knows the Rebbe would be able to tell you how far this is from the truth. the Rebbe is in no way trying to "recruit followers". his only goal is to warm up yidden to improve in Torah and mitzvos. in fact, the rebbe hasn't even established his own shul.

7

 Mar 21, 2011 at 10:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
charliehall Says:

May one or both of the girls become the next Rebbecca Gratz, Sarah Schnirer, or Nechama Leibowitz!

What dont you let the parents express their wishes as to how rtheir children should grow up, instead of offering your wishes, which you know are probably quite contrary to how these truly god- fearing people want to raise their children.

8

 Mar 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM Mazal Tov Says:

She should be zocheh to have sons also.

9

 Mar 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM AhavasYisroel Says:

what is wrong with having girls? Having any child, boy or girl, after so many years of childlessness is a bracha and should be treated as such. I am ashamed at so many yidden saying "well at least there will be a good son in law". Why can't you accept your daughters for who they are and not as somoene who can bring in a good son in law? Rashi only had daughters and look who came from them! These statements are not understandable, and are shocking to say the least. Someone had a Nes done for them, a double Nes actually. And all people say is "too bad it wasnt a girl", "She can have kids till 55 and have a boy next?" "they can pick their son in law"!!!??!?!?

10

 Mar 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM eman1 Says:

These comments remind me of an incident after my oldest daughters birth after 5 years of marriage.
A friend wishes me a joyus mazel tov when an aquantence came over asking what the mazel tov was for. I responded that my wife gave birth to a girl. His reaction was- "Such a mazel tov for a girl". He felt pretty awkward when he was told the details.

11

 Mar 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM Queenbee Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Mazeltov! It's wonderful news. May the babies give their parents much Yiddishe, Chassidishe nachas. But what is wrong with daughters? It's such a terrible thing if one has ehrliche sons-in-law instead? Are they worried about not having a Kaddishel? This obsession with sons is ridiculous. Remember the old adage: "a son is a son till he takes him a wife; a daughter's a daughter all of her life."

Believe me, the best daughter-in-law is not the same as a daughter. The parents shouldn't be obsessing about not having a son; rather, they should enjoy the babies they were given by G-d. Now we understand why many (B"H not all) Chassidim treat their wives & daughters as second-class citizens. I'm Chassidish, so I know what I'm talking about.

What a horrible comment so say on Chassidim.

Being Chassidish doesn't mean you know what you're talkking about because obviously you don't.
I actually have no clue what you're talking about and I'm Chassidish too.

Just remember the saying "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission"


To number 9: I'm totally in agreement with you. I highly highly doubt the Rebbe and his wife are thinking this way. It's great to make it seem so for reporting and readership though.

It smells so Muslim-like to want boys over girls and is so not in tune with Torah and Judaism where both genders are wanted and respected. As we see with the first mitzvah where both genders are required to fulfill it.

12

 Mar 21, 2011 at 12:36 PM sam46th Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Mazeltov! It's wonderful news. May the babies give their parents much Yiddishe, Chassidishe nachas. But what is wrong with daughters? It's such a terrible thing if one has ehrliche sons-in-law instead? Are they worried about not having a Kaddishel? This obsession with sons is ridiculous. Remember the old adage: "a son is a son till he takes him a wife; a daughter's a daughter all of her life."

Believe me, the best daughter-in-law is not the same as a daughter. The parents shouldn't be obsessing about not having a son; rather, they should enjoy the babies they were given by G-d. Now we understand why many (B"H not all) Chassidim treat their wives & daughters as second-class citizens. I'm Chassidish, so I know what I'm talking about.

Who said the parents are obsessing? And why do they need your obsession lessons?

13

 Mar 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

What dont you let the parents express their wishes as to how rtheir children should grow up, instead of offering your wishes, which you know are probably quite contrary to how these truly god- fearing people want to raise their children.

and what is wrong with Sarah Schnierer? She started a whole movement which probably helped save thousands upon thousands of yiddishe neshamos! Mothers were unable to teach their daughters and she found a way to fill the gap! I think anyone would be proud to have her as a daughter. Unless you were a self-hating yid, who didn't care about other yidden...

14

 Mar 21, 2011 at 12:53 PM Briskerrav Says:

Reply to #6  
Reb Yona Says:

First, i wish the Rebbe a hearthfull Mazel Tov. may the children be well and bring much of nachas to the Rebbe and the Rebetzin.

now afew comments on this article.
1) The Rebbe's last name is Kohn and not Kahn

2) "twin girls, which brought him a lot of happiness but not the heir he had been waiting for." how stupit can one be to write such a comment. i'm sure the Rebbe can't be any happier than he's now, being able to hold two baby girls

3) "whose members are nicknamed “zebras”". never heard this nickname. if anything, they're called "Reb Arolach"

4) "every week the Rebbe visits a different community in Israel in a bid to recruit followers". anybody who knows the Rebbe would be able to tell you how far this is from the truth. the Rebbe is in no way trying to "recruit followers". his only goal is to warm up yidden to improve in Torah and mitzvos. in fact, the rebbe hasn't even established his own shul.

Isn't his name Reb Yosel Kohn ? or I'm mixing something up ?

15

 Mar 21, 2011 at 01:21 PM chayamom Says:

I wonder how the chassidim knew that there were three fetuses and that one was a boy? This speculation regarding the need for an heir and successor sounds to me that it is the chassidim's opinion, I don't believe this is the Rebbe's opinion.

16

 Mar 21, 2011 at 01:32 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #10  
eman1 Says:

These comments remind me of an incident after my oldest daughters birth after 5 years of marriage.
A friend wishes me a joyus mazel tov when an aquantence came over asking what the mazel tov was for. I responded that my wife gave birth to a girl. His reaction was- "Such a mazel tov for a girl". He felt pretty awkward when he was told the details.

Fine he felt awkward because of the details. He should have felt stupid for his actions.

17

 Mar 21, 2011 at 02:25 PM Reb Yona Says:

Reply to #14  
Briskerrav Says:

Isn't his name Reb Yosel Kohn ? or I'm mixing something up ?

yes, his name is Reb Yosef Yoel Kohn

18

 Mar 21, 2011 at 02:25 PM The_Truth Says:

Does anyone know where can I find out more about the type of fertility treatment they had? (For personal reasons, not because I'm a yenta.) After 33 years - it is unlikely this is some run-of-the-mill treatment (but still possible I guess considering they are such choshuve people).

19

 Mar 21, 2011 at 02:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Briskerrav Says:

Isn't his name Reb Yosel Kohn ? or I'm mixing something up ?

so much shtusim in 1 article

20

 Mar 21, 2011 at 03:57 PM expatriate Says:

According to mishne berura one girl is enough. He has now one too much!. Can someone please tell us who is rebettzen is. His two older brothers are both rebbes, his offspring would be far down the line and unlikely to become on yichus alone. Maybe a SIL would have a much better chance!

21

 Mar 21, 2011 at 04:11 PM Wiznitzer Says:

To #15, All this speculation is not R Yossels opinion and not the chassidim's opinion. It is just the writer of this article trying to spice things up with sensational rubbish..

22

 Mar 21, 2011 at 06:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Mazel Tov Mazal Tov!!

23

 Mar 21, 2011 at 07:49 PM BLONDI Says:

mazel tov, mazel tov....just curios, but since it's purim time...are the girls' names esther, malkah or haddassah? may they always bring nachas to the parents and all family members :)

24

 Mar 21, 2011 at 07:58 PM Quilt Says:

Reply to #18  
The_Truth Says:

Does anyone know where can I find out more about the type of fertility treatment they had? (For personal reasons, not because I'm a yenta.) After 33 years - it is unlikely this is some run-of-the-mill treatment (but still possible I guess considering they are such choshuve people).

They obviously had IVF using donor eggs. If a 52 year old got pregnant with triplets using her own eggs, she'd be the first EVER. It's possible, but rare (as in 1 in 50,000) that a 52 year old could get pregnant with a healthy singleton pregnancy. Triplets? No.

25

 Mar 21, 2011 at 07:59 PM Oy Gevald, Let's just be Frailach Says:

Even a simcha turns into a contoversy. Imagine a world without controversy!

26

 Mar 22, 2011 at 12:10 AM Passaicguy Says:

An heir for what? Why is one needed? If its for his nechosim, than a Daughter is Yoreshes if there are no sons. If its to take over his shteller, its not necessary, anyone that is a qualified Rov, can attract his own followers. There doesnt specifically have to be A Mevakshei Emunah Rebbe.

27

 Mar 22, 2011 at 03:49 AM Rifka Says:

Reply to #24  
Quilt Says:

They obviously had IVF using donor eggs. If a 52 year old got pregnant with triplets using her own eggs, she'd be the first EVER. It's possible, but rare (as in 1 in 50,000) that a 52 year old could get pregnant with a healthy singleton pregnancy. Triplets? No.

I don't think she would use donor eggs. She used her own frozen eggs which were removed at a younger age. With IVF one always implants a few embryos at once, because there's a risk of losing one or more. It seems that in this case, they implanted three embryos and two B"H survived.

28

 Mar 22, 2011 at 09:06 AM Quilt Says:

Reply to #27  
Rifka Says:

I don't think she would use donor eggs. She used her own frozen eggs which were removed at a younger age. With IVF one always implants a few embryos at once, because there's a risk of losing one or more. It seems that in this case, they implanted three embryos and two B"H survived.

First of all, the attrition rate on frozen eggs is enormous, especially if they were removed more than a couple of years ago, when the technology wasn't as good as it is today. It's unlikely that anything removed after the age of 44 survived the thaw. And, since she'd never been pregnant in all those years of trying, it's very likely something was wrong with her eggs in the first place. Had she successfully frozen embryos (more likely than freezing eggs, which is only routinely done very recently) she would have no doubt gotten pregnant earlier, and it's still unlikely that she would have had enough good embryos to create a triplet pregnancy, or even a successful twin pregnancy. Had she successfully conceived children naturally, it would be more plausible to think that her frozen embryos were good quality. But considering decades of infertility, there was probably a bigger problem. Sorry, but all evidence points to donor egg. Which isn't a bad thing. They're blessed with beautiful twins and maybe will even be able to try for another pregnancy with remaining frozen embryos. It should serve as inspiration to infertile couples to not give up, to try everything.

29

 Mar 22, 2011 at 02:01 PM Rifka Says:

Reply to #28  
Quilt Says:

First of all, the attrition rate on frozen eggs is enormous, especially if they were removed more than a couple of years ago, when the technology wasn't as good as it is today. It's unlikely that anything removed after the age of 44 survived the thaw. And, since she'd never been pregnant in all those years of trying, it's very likely something was wrong with her eggs in the first place. Had she successfully frozen embryos (more likely than freezing eggs, which is only routinely done very recently) she would have no doubt gotten pregnant earlier, and it's still unlikely that she would have had enough good embryos to create a triplet pregnancy, or even a successful twin pregnancy. Had she successfully conceived children naturally, it would be more plausible to think that her frozen embryos were good quality. But considering decades of infertility, there was probably a bigger problem. Sorry, but all evidence points to donor egg. Which isn't a bad thing. They're blessed with beautiful twins and maybe will even be able to try for another pregnancy with remaining frozen embryos. It should serve as inspiration to infertile couples to not give up, to try everything.

You're speculating, so am I.
There is a halachic problem with donor eggs, I don't think ultra religious people of Toldos Aharon would use them.
Infertility does not mean that a woman doesn't produce healthy eggs, it could mean many other things. Some women conceive easily but cannot carry the child beyond a certain stage.
Frozen embryos can last for ten years, if not more.

30

 Mar 22, 2011 at 02:51 PM Quilt Says:

If her frozen embryos lasted for more than 10 years, she'd no doubt have had a bunch of babies by now from embryo transfers. And if the issue is that she was unable to carry a pregnancy to term, I doubt very much she'd be carrying a twin pregnancy successfully. Either way, it's their business. But I think all infertile frum couples should be encouraged by this to explore all their options when it comes to having children. Like it or not, sometimes we have to rely on modern technology to become parents, and we should be grateful that such things exist.

31

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