Chof Zayin Elul, 5776
The Third Partner
Once there was a husband and wife who lived together in a little village, one of the hundreds of little villages which peppered the countryside of Russia and Poland in the times of our grandparents, and great-grandparents and the dozens of generations which preceded them.
Like many such couples, they were very poor, subsisting from day to day by the work of their hands. And although life was hard, their eyes ever turned upward to their Father in Heaven, beseeching Him to remember them, and never to forsake them. Thus they lived for many years, in harmony, with peace and love reigning between them.
And although they thanked G-d every day for the goodness He bestowed upon them, they suffered from one great sorrow which cast its shadow over their placid lives--they had no children.
For this one thing they prayed every day.
On Shabbat and the holidays, when the wife would don her pure white kerchief, cover her eyes and bless the candles, she murmured a prayer begging G-d to grant her a child. And when the husband stood in silent prayer, he, too, would remind the Creator of his craving for a child.
After many years had passed, their greatest wish was granted, and the wife gave birth to a baby boy. Their joy and thankfulness were unbounded as they watched their little son grow.
The days and months passed by joyfully, until the day came when the child was ready to be weaned. The parents consulted each other as to how to embark on this new step.
They wanted to purchase the proper food for their precious child, but were unsure how kosher it would have to be to qualify as kosher enough for a child.
The couple was quite poor, and so, they decided that if it were kosher, but not exactly up to the very highest standards, it would certainly be good enough.
But then, the mother piped up and said, "You know, it isn't enough to decide between ourselves, for there is a third partner in the creation of a child -- G-d Himself takes part; without Him, no child enters this world.
Her husband agreed, and so they looked in the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, where it is written: It is preferable to feed the child food of the highest standard of kashrut.
The loving parents, wanting to do the very best for their son, bought the most kosher food available.
They also decided that it would be proper to consult the Third Partner each time they made a major decision in the child's upbringing.
Days and months passed and it was soon time to choose a teacher for the little boy. The parents wondered, where should they look for a proper teacher, one who would instill in their precious boy a love of learning and values which the Torah held dear.
They looked here and there, spoke to this melamed (teacher) and that, but when it came time to choose, they again decided to do what the Third Partner would wish, and they selected a fine G-d fearing young man, who they felt sure would lead their child on the path of righteousness.
The little boy grew and matured into a fine young man, but his parents still watched over him as carefully as before.
When the time arrived to choose a bride, they came upon a problem: the poor couple had no money to establish a home for their son. What could they do? Finally, the mother spoke up: "From the time of our son's birth, until now, we always did what G-d wanted, without any regard to cost. No matter what sacrifice it entailed, we went ahead, and we footed the whole bill. Now, it is time for the Third Partner to pay His share in the upbringing of our child."
The father agreed, and he went into the fields and prayed from the bottom of his heart. "G-d, You know that we always put Your will before our own in the rearing of the son You gave us. Now, we are unable to find our son a bride without Your help, and so we call upon You to join in the mitzva of bringing our son under the marriage canopy."
No sooner had he completed his prayer, when a pure gold coin miraculously descended from the Heavens, and the father knew that his prayer was accepted. The mother, the father and the Third Partner rejoiced at the wedding of the beloved son and his new bride.
Taken from L'Chaim #339 with permission