Mazel Tov Times Five!

By Shai Gefen

Dovid and Esther Segal are the proud parents of quintuplets. Dovid has been excitedly telling people the miraculous chain of events he recently experienced.


Dovid and Esther Segal’s story is so amazing that even the secular media couldn’t help but get excited. The miracle took place Monday night, 2 Elul, when the quintuplets were born. There are three boys and two girls, all healthy. Their birth was the climax of a long series of miracles, with the nervous parents accompanied at every moment by the Rebbe’s brachos and guidance through the Igros Kodesh.


The doctors had predicted the worst, but with the support and encouragement the Segals received from the Rebbe, they stood strong and managed to overcome all difficulties.


* * *


These days Dovid Segal spends most of his time at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital with his wife, and with his five babies who are still in incubators. Although some time has passed since the birth, Dovid is still excited. What he wants to do now is publicize his great miracle to everyone, in order to thank Hashem for His great kindness.


“I was born in Petersburg 26 years ago. My parents were completely nonreligious and I knew nothing about Judaism except that my father once told me that we were Jews. One other thing we knew was that our grandfather’s grandfather was a great and important rav among the Chabad Chassidim.


“When my father told me I am Jewish, I was very happy even though I didn’t understand what it meant. I only knew that Israel was bad and made problems for the Arabs. That is what I understood from the Russian media, which loved the Arabs. I didn’t have a bar mitzva or a bris.”


Dovid met his wife in Israel at a Jewish Agency camp. They had a civil marriage in Petersburg. Two and a half years later he and his wife discovered, for the first time, their connection to Judaism. From that point on they moved quickly towards a Jewish and Chassidic life.


Dovid is a physicist and quite a genius. His wife is a linguist. They used to spend their summer vacations in Eretz Yisroel every year as part of a group under the Agency. It was there for the first time that they began to discover Judaism.


The group leader, Alexander Maimon, a Lubavitcher Chassid, began acquainting the couple from Petersburg with the world of Judaism. “We looked into it,” says Dovid, “but we had many questions and we didn’t let up. At some point we realized that Judaism contains far more than we knew, and that’s why we didn’t just accept everything. We had questions about everything.”


The long conversations had an effect. When the Segals went back to Petersburg four years ago, they decided to have a Jewish marriage. “We began to understand that there is faith, that some things are beyond the rational,” says Dovid. “We spoke to the rav of the city, shliach Rabbi Menachem Mendel Pevsner, who was our mesader kiddushin. He said we should start by learning Torah, which we did. He also told me to study the chasuna maamer. I felt that the maamer contained the whole world. I had a bris, and then we were married k’das Moshe V’Yisroel.


“I kept up my connection with Chabad. My wife began working in Chabad mosdos in the city, and each Shabbos we had guests for the Friday night meal. We began to take part in all Chabad activities in Petersburg.


“Two years passed since our chuppa and we still didn’t have children. We felt we had to deepen our connection with Judaism in order to have children. We began learning with Shaul Slominsky, a Chabad Chassid in Petersburg. We had lots of questions at each class about many aspects of Judaism.


“Two years ago, when we visited Eretz Yisroel as we did each year, we met the Friedland family of Nachalat Har Chabad. Among other things, we told them about our desire for children, and they suggested we ask the Rebbe for a bracha. We agreed, and Avrohom Friedland asked the Rebbe for a bracha for us. The answer in the Igros Kodesh was amazing. The Rebbe promised children and even asked that we call the child by a certain name. With a bracha like that we knew we would have children, despite the fact that the doctors said we wouldn’t. Nothing had worked up until that point.


“We went back to Russia and continued our involvement with Chabad. A year ago in the summer we were back in Eretz Yisroel, where I studied in the Tzemach Tzedek Kollel in Yerushalayim.


“I wrote to the Rebbe about an offer I had about running an important organization, but the Rebbe negated it. I understood from the answer that I should return to Russia. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know why the Rebbe told me in the Igros answer to go back to Russia, but two months later I understood.


“In Petersburg we met a gentile doctor. Right after the first treatment we were told the good news, though we didn’t know it would be a multiple birth. A few weeks later when my wife went for a check-up, while I stayed home, she phoned me and said we were expecting twins. A few minutes later she called back to say it was triplets. I was thrilled. When the phone rang a third time, I didn’t know what to think - she told me it was quads!


“She began to cry, because she told me that the doctor said quadruplets are risky. I calmed her and said that if Hashem sent us four, everything would be fine. The doctor wanted to reduce the number of fetuses. We didn’t know what to do. I consulted with Rabbi Pevsner, who consulted with experts in Eretz Yisroel. There were differing opinions.


“At some point we decided to open the Igros Kodesh and ask the Rebbe about this complicated matter. At first the Rebbe said to state the problem precisely. We explained the two sides - reducing the number of babies or not. We put the question in the Igros Kodesh and got an answer that spoke about preserving even the physicality of a person and not to give in.


“We understood from this that the Rebbe was opposed to reducing the number of babies, that we had to protect all of them, and that with Hashem’s help everything would be fine.


“We were still afraid to take the responsibility for this decision, but we decided to go l’chatchile aribber. We wrote to the Rebbe again and said we had decided to listen to him. We would not agree to reduce the number of babies despite the demands of the doctor and the other experts. We asked for a bracha that everything would be fine, with no problems.


“The answer we opened to was in Volume 10, p. 120: ‘Regarding your writing about your wife’s condition, I double my brachos that Hashem should fulfill the days of her pregnancy properly and easily, and she should give birth to zara chaya v’kayama in the right time, properly and easily.’


“After such a clear answer, I knew we were all right, and that the double bracha would stand by us. We told the doctor of our decision and he advised us to go to Eretz Yisroel, where they could take care of us better. He explained that only in the United States and Eretz Yisroel would we be taken care of properly, under the circumstances.


“We decided to go Eretz Yisroel immediately and left within a week. I learned in the kollel, and my wife was homebound until the twentieth week. That’s when the problems began. We have stories that could fill a book - like the fact that until that time we thought we were having quadruplets, and in Eretz Yisroel they saw it was quintuplets!


“We went to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, where after a few days we experienced serious problems. The doctors were pessimistic and said there was no way Esther would make it through this pregnancy. They begged us to reduce the number of babies, but we refused. They threatened us with the worst and gave us no chance at all, but we remained stubborn. There is a Rebbe and he gave us a bracha! The doctors thought we were crazy.


“There were some very difficult moments. One day something happened and one of the doctors began yelling that he warned me this would happen... Another doctor consoled me and said, ‘It’s not so bad, the next pregnancy will be okay.’ It was only with great miracles that they managed to stabilize the situation.


“On Rosh Chodesh Tammuz I asked for the Rebbe’s bracha again. The answer I opened to was in Volume 11, page 162: ‘As to his announcement about his wife’s condition...you should check the mezuzos in the house and your t’fillin, and his wife certainly has the custom of fine Jewish daughters to set aside tz’daka before lighting candles every Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov. Hashem will fulfill the days of her pregnancy properly and easily, so that she’ll give birth to zara chaya v’kayama in the right time, properly and easily.’


“I quickly had my t’fillin checked, and to my surprise I discovered that the ink had faded. The sofer explained that probably the cold weather in Petersburg had ruined the ink. Naturally I bought new parshiyos immediately.


“After I finished with my t’fillin, my wife went into early labor. The doctors were very concerned. They told us they were highly doubtful as to whether they could stop it. At this point we consulted with the Russian doctor who had treated my wife in the beginning. We also consulted the Rebbe. The Rebbe’s answer was that it would pass and there was nothing to worry about. Indeed, with great miracles and no natural explanation, labor stopped.


“The doctors set a date for a Cesarean operation in the 27th week, but again there were miracles and my wife held on until the 31st week, which amazed the doctors.


“The Rebbe’s brachos accompanied us throughout the entire pregnancy. Even the operation went relatively well, with no unusual problems. At 2:00 a.m., 2 Elul 5761, the quintuplets were born. The doctors were unanimous that this was a medical miracle. One of the doctors even said, “The likelihood of the babies’ survival was nil.”


* * *


More than once in the course of relating his story, Dovid stopped in order to compose himself and allow his emotions to calm down. The tears choked him up. The miracles that accompanied them throughout the ordeal flood his face with joy, for as a result of these miracles he became the father of five healthy children!


Dovid sees it as a privilege and obligation to publicize the great miracle to the world. The parents’ faith in the Rebbe is incredible. In fact, their faith is contagious, even affecting the journalists and doctors. This unusual story about the birth of quintuplets has moved many a heart.


Dovid still finds it difficult to answer what it’s like to be a father. For now, he acknowledges the miracles and sees it as his obligation to publicize them. “The Rebbe’s brachos accompanied me the whole time,” he says again. “We saw miracles. Even somebody who doesn’t believe in miracles had to agree there were miracles here.”


Dovid thanks the devoted doctors who spent days and nights with them. “Now everybody admits we were right in not reducing the number of babies, but we did it because of the Rebbe’s bracha. Dovid also thanks those who are presently helping them out. He and his wife will be living in Yerushalayim, awaiting the imminent hisgalus of the Rebbe MH”M.


They threatened us with the worst and gave us no chance at all, but we remained stubborn. There is a Rebbe and he gave us a bracha! The doctors thought we were crazy.




The doctors were unanimous that this was a medical miracle. One of the doctors even said, “The likelihood of the babies’ survival was nil.”




“The Rebbe’s brachos accompanied me the whole time,” he says again. “We saw miracles. Even somebody who doesn’t believe in miracles had to agree there were miracles here.”





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