Last Sunday, Eitan Naftali Ben Mayer Yisrael had his Upsherin. It was exceptionally meaningful and moving as not too long ago, he lost his hair from Chemo during his year’s battle. BH he had a full head of hair to cut!
Janine, Max and a boy named Eitan
As we consider the wonder and gratitude of Eitan’s Upsherin with the thoughts to be expressed here, it is profound that it followed the reading of Shemot, which means names. Significantly, it states – Vayleh Shemot Bnai Yisrael….These are the names of the sons of Israel.
Delving into the thoughts of Rabbi Heschel, he felt deeply about a personal G-d for himself and each of us. To approach and establish a relationship with our G-d in our own special way through our being and performance of the Mitzvot. Of course, there is only One, however he shares that Echad ending the Shema cannot mean One as that would imply there could be two. Rather it conveys, Unique. Heschel brings down, in the Amidah where we say Elokay, Avraham, Elokay Yitzchak, Elokay Yakov – it relays that each had their own special way and relationship with HaShem.
In a Shiur with R. Shay Schachter on “Is G-d in Gulles?”, he shares an idea of the Meshneh Chachma – Avraham and Yitzhak each receive communication directly from G-d while Yakov experienced that dialogue in a dream. The point, G-d reached them at different times and indicates, G-d is there, everywhere, at all times. That idea further reinforces Heschel’s idea that each has their own manner of communicating with Him.
In context of this writing, after Yakov’s experience, his name was changed to Yisrael – Israel, foreshadowing a chain of events that would herald the birth of an eternal people. Israel, a name that would overcome extraordinary hardships that would yield a strong and fruitful nation that would be a light unto nations.
Janine and Max has certainly found their unique relationship with G-d. One way, in naming their beautiful children. Most choose the first name after a loved one of blessed memory. They have done that with the middle names of their kids. What was it that inspired the giving of the name Eitan which means – Strong or Long-Lived, considering the challenges that would follow? A name that clearly stood by him and our family during a time that had his name on the lips, minds, hearts and souls of over 800 commitments to recite Tehilim, prayer groups, friends gathering every Shabbat following services to recite Tehilim and Mishaberachs when typically they would run to a Kiddush.
Today, aside from those we know personally, there are many we bump into whose names we don’t recall but will ask “how is Eitan Naftali ben Yael Beracha? I am still davening for him.”
The year of Eitan’s battle felt like a very extended Yom Kippur – where you have the pains of fasting, bringing you closer to your mortality, but knowing at the end we will say 2 names of G-d to conclude – Adoshem hu Elokim – 7 times. 2 names that embodies the attributes of HaShem to guide, care and to see through his promise of being a nation that is Long-Lived. A day, where you know after you hear the call of His name, we feast and enjoy our food with greater appreciation than before. A day bringing in a new year a rebirth of our beings and to continue to build that special relationship with G-d.
Janine and Max, you had that year of Yom Kippur and now the symbol of cutting the hair after 3 years connecting to the Torah’s call not to cut the fruit of the tree for 3 years – assuring a strong generation of fruit for years to come. Recently, you named your daughter Orly Ahuva, beloved light because she followed the darkness, the fasting you experienced. Following Yom Kippur we seek the light of the Moon in our performance of Kiddush Levana petitioning for a blessed month to follow. May you and we all live up to Eitan’s and Orly’s name forever and bring forward all that makes you and our family special. Yashakoach and
Mazal Tov – Enjoy and Relish your children, eternally.
With Admiration, Appreciation and Love,
Bubby and Papa.