JHOM - Personalities - Glückel of Hamln - Memoirs-Child
of a child; birth of another
My daughter Mata was now
in her third year, and never was there a lovelier and more charming child. Not
only we but everyone who lay eyes on her or heard her prattle, delighted in
the mite. But the Lord delighted in her more, and as she entered her third year,
her hands and feet swelled of a sudden. Although we employed doctors and physicking
of all sorts, still it pleased the good Lord, after the child had suffered four
weeks in pain, to recall His share unto Himself and leave ours lying before
us, to the breaking of our hearts.
My husband and I grieved
beyond all telling, and I greatly fear I sinned in this before the Lord, and
brought on myself a heavier punishment than, alas, I already deserved. Both
of us mourned so bitterly that for a long while we lay grievously ill; and so
we had our great sorrow.
I now became expectant with
my daughter Hannah and was brought to bed. Because of my grief for my dear departed
child, with whose loss I could not be reconciled, I fell dangerously ill. I
continued stricken throughout the time I lay in childbed, and the doctors, doubting
of my recovery, wanted to bring desperate measures into play.
When they proposed these
measures and explained them to my people, little thinking I knew or understood
what they said, I told my husband and my mother I would not submit to them.
Whereat they informed the doctors of my decision, and although the physicians
meant well and did their best to persuade me, all their talk proved useless
and I said to them, "Talk as much as you please, I'll take no more of your
physicking. If the dear Lord minds to help me, He can do very well without medicines.
If not, what good are all the medicines in the world?" In sum, I begged
my husband discharge and pay the doctors, one and all. And so he did.
God gave me, then, the strength
I needed, and in five weeks after I came to bed, though still miserable, I was
able to go to synagogue. And I praised and thanked my God for all He had done.
Each day I grew a little better, and finally I dismissed my attendant and wet-nurse
and with the help of the Most High resumed my household duties, and in the end
managed to forget the loss of my dear child, as God meant it.
The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln. Marvin Lowenthal, trans. Copyright
© 1977 by Schocken Books (New York), pp. 86-88. Reprinted by permission
of Schocken Books.