Our youngest (“our baby”) is flying to Israel today on his own, encountering the state independently for the first time through his own eyes, heart, and mind.
His parents’ hearts are overflowing with joy, pride and also apprehension. As I gave him his final goodbye kiss, I uttered a little prayer.
1) May he be touched by the presence of the Shekhinah in Yerushalayim.
2) May he appreciate the kedusha of Tel Aviv.
3) May he bask in the country’s heavenly beauty.
4) May he salivate when consuming its luscious native produce.
5) May he have the courage to ask tough questions.
6) May he have the humility to accept hard answers; and also the maturity to recognize that sometimes there are NO answers.
7) May he be lucky to encounter young Israelis who share his values.
8) May he be confident enough to respect and adore those whose values are very different than his.
9) May he take pride in his sister’s and brothers-in-law’s army service.
10) May he nevertheless get closer to his numerous Haredi relatives, notwithstanding their disdain for his sibling’s army service or for the state itself.
11) May he be overtaken by the miracle of Jewish statehood.
12) May he start appreciating the challenges inherent in Jewish sovereignty.
13) May he embrace the spiritual brotherhood of every Israeli Jew regardless of color, ethnicity, or level of devoutness.
14) May that embrace not blind him to the dignity, humanity and innate tezelm Elokim of Israel’s non-Jewish inhabitants.
15) May this trip strengthen his resolve to tirelessly fight for Israel’s safety.
16) May that resolve not come at the expense of his youthful passion for fairness, equality and justice for all of God’s creations.
17) All in all, may this trip make him a better person and a better Jew: more passionate, more spiritual, more inquisitive, and ultimately fill him with a robust passion for serving God, His nation, His people, and His world.
May it be His will!