This past Shabbos we B”H celebrated two momentous occasions, our son Yosef Tzvi’s Bar Mitzvah and Benny’s Upshern. I am still recuperating from all the festivities and trying to get to bed at a reasonable time, but I did want to share of few thoughts before anymore time has elapsed.
It’s no coincidence that these two brother’s shared this weekend of Simchos together. They have always had a close relationship and are always there for each other in good times and more difficult ones. For the past several weeks, Benny has been saying that he is also having a Bar Mitzvah and Joey is going to get his hair cut.
Both boys have gone thru their own set of challenges to get to this point. Both boys have taught me that no matter what challenge one is handed, with determination, hard work, perseverance, and most of all, solidifying a deep connection with Hakodosh Baruch Hu, they can be overcome.
Over the course of the weekend, there were those “moments” that stood out more than other’s. They say, it rains about 10 days out of the year in LA. Well, this past Shabbos was one of those ten. As I walked to Shul (between the drops) I wasn’t disturbed by the weather in the least. I felt it was a Simun Bracha and sure enough it was. The rain stopped before Shul was over, just in time for people to join us for the Kiddush in our backyard (tent just in case). I thought to myself what could the rain represent? Could it be, Hashed showing us all the tears that were shed for our children, tears of Rachamim (mercy). It was a shower of Bracha. I was also told by a Rebbetzin that her mother used to tell her, rain is a sign that a Big Tzadik has arrived to town. Looking around at the people in shul, by the Kiddush, and the siyum, I felt I was in the presence of great Tzadikim and Tzidkanious (holy men and women and children). Each and every person present has demonstrated throughout our ordeal, the characteristics of a Holy Tzadik. It felt humbling and uplifting to be in the presence of 100’s of Holy individuals.
The next “moment,” was when Yosef Tzvi stood by the Bima with his father on one side and his Rebbi on the other, about to begin Leighning (reading) his Parsha (Torah portion). I became overcome with emotion and broke down crying. I could hear my daughter in the background asking her sister, “why is Mommy crying?” The answer is simple. The long awaited day that I dreamed of, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, had finally arrived. I knew this was the beginning of a new chapter of Yosef Tzvi’s life and ours as well. I would no longer be saying, “practice Yosef Tzvi…practice..practice..or time to go to Rebbi!” It was time for Yosef Tzvi to shine and boy did he light up the shul when he leighned. Every word he pronounced melted my heart and elevated my soul. It was a moment I wish upon every mother.
A heart wrenching “moment,” was when Ari introduced our dear friend Rabbi Avi Feder to speak during Shabbos lunch. The Feder’s, our dear friends and neighbors whom we have shared so many wonderful memories with over the years. And then, the connection that I don’t wish upon any parent, a parent who fights to save his/her child’s life. Although, the symptoms and treatments of our precious boys were different, the coping mechanisms were the same. We both needed all of your Tefillos, your good deeds, your tears, your friendships, your Chizuk, and your endless Chessed. We both experienced first hand physically being carried on the wings of Hashem when we could no longer stand ourselves, the greatness of Am Yisroel in lifting the heavy weight off our shoulders, and the Nissim (miracles) Hashem performed on a daily basis. Then, there was the Chizuk that we gave one another, that only a parent that has gone thru such catastrophe can give one another. To have the Feder’s in our presence to share in our Simcha was truly a Nes (miracle). May Hashed continue to bless Avrohom Elimelech ben Nechama Esther, Chaya Malka bas Leah Frumit, Rafael Yoel Ozer ben Chaya Malka and all their children with good health, Mazal, Parnassa and Bracha for 120 years. (Please continue to daven for these righteous individuals).
The wow “moment,” was when Ari addressed Yosef Tzvi at his Bar Mitzvah celebration and gave him a Bracha. Yosef Tzvi internalized the message and within minutes his eyes swelled and teared up. Becoming Bar Mitzvah wasn’t about the party and the “gifts”, but about using his abilities and strengths that he is blessed with, and follow in the ways of Hashem. Having spent countless days in the hospital with Benny over the last two years, Yosef Tzvi has learned to appreciate life, in ways most 12 year old’s, B”H never will experience. He has also learned to bring Simcha (happiness) into some of the darkest places. My Bracha to Yosef Tzvi is that he should he should continue to bring Simcha into this world and the one above in the happiest of times.
The Simcha weekend was completed with Benny’s upshern and Siyum Hatorah in honor of Benny’s Refuah. The final “moment” was when Rabbi Weiner (for 120) took a pair of scissors and snipped off a few strands of Benny’s golden hair. It was at that moment that my vision of the past two years became a reality. This vision is what got me thru some of the most challenging times. The first Upshern that Benny had was “scissorless,” and yet hair was shed everywhere in my bed for days and weeks. I refused to cut it and would say, “if Hashem wants it, let Him take it without my help.” That being said, I spent half the night envisioning the day it would grow back and we would be able to cut it for real by his third birthday IY”H.
Throughout the weekend, there was made mention of my Emunah and Bitachon and the Chizuk that I have given to other’s. I wouldn’t be honest with myself nor with you if I did not mention the source from where this came from. I am eternally grateful to my husband, Ari, for teaching me and growing with me in Emunah and Bitachon, no matter what the challenge Hashem has bestowed upon us. Ari allowed me to cry, and sometimes yell (just to let it out), but did not allow me to fall into a state of depression (not for more than a few days at most). Ari taught me to see the challenges as gifts from Hashem which really gave me an energy level that was unachievable on my own. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for all that you have done and continue to do on a daily basis. May Hashem bless each and everyone of you with your Ezer K’negdo (match) so that you can reach your full potential and purpose in this world.