|Our son, just past his 2nd birthday|
Our son will become a "Bar Mitzvah" this Shabbos Kodesh. Over the years I have written about how I've shepped nachas from him making a friend feel comfortable, how we danced it up on Lag B'Omer, how we learned from a chumash belonging to my grandfather, and his awesome one-liner one Shabbos night. All in all, he's a great young man. There are times when he is wise-beyond-his-years and other times when he acts well below his years. He finds humor in things that others don't see. He understands the importance of a moment in time. The excitement he felt on Tzom Gedaliah, when he put on his Zaidy's tefillin was beautiful, because, he understood that even without making a bracha, it was special. He started wearing his Shabbos hat on Rosh Hashanah and is aware that it's not just another accessory. I have always told him that he needs to keep his head covered, that's the main thing. He fully gets the fact that wearing a black hat doesn't mean he has any more kedusha than any other Jew.
We have been fortunate that even when he was young, thanks in part to hours of listening to Uncle Moishy, he has had a certain fire for Yiddishkeit. He has strong sense of what is right in the world and even when he would dress up with an old Shabbos hat and a tallis and play with at "Torah" he made in pre-school, there was a look in his eyes that, to him, he wasn't just playing.
Watching him learn to lein has been quite an experience. His diligence and desire over the past year has been inspirational. He has even opted to listen to the mp3 files of his parsha instead of listening to baseball games on the radio at night (sometimes). For him, this is a major accomplishment. His has a great group of friends in his class that he has known since the middle of kindergarten. He is looked to as role model by many younger boys our family knows, he is liked by his teachers and respected by his rebbeim.
He, like every kid, has his moments that make me want to pull out what is left of my hair, but I love him and he usually knows that. He is loved by many and I hope he sees this over Shabbos. We are zoche to live in a beautiful community that is rich in Torah, Avodah, and Gemilus Chassadim.
The countdown is here, my brother arrived before Shabbos, and before we know it we'll be with out-of-town family and friends who have come in to join us in this simcha. The absence of my wife's parents a"h and my father a"h is not easy, but, as we wrote in the Bar Mitzvah invitation:
"Though one's parents have passed on, Hashem escorts them from Gan Eden to participate in their children's simcha." (Zohar 3:21b)