Bring Back Every Jew

(Andy Blumenthal)
(Andy Blumenthal)

This was a beautiful picture of the Rebbe that I found here in South Florida.  One thing that I so love about Chabad is their unconditional love for every Jew.  No matter who or what you are–there is a spark of Hashem in you!

Today in a beautiful Chabad synagogue here in Florida, the Rabbi called to the Torah a bar mitzvah.  But in this case, the bar mitzvah “boy” was a 43-year old man!

It was the first time he was being called to the Torah.  The man ever so carefully took the corner of his talit and kissed the Holy words on the scroll of the Torah.  Then, as the Rabbi whispered the Bracha, the man repeated ending with: “Baruch atta Hashem notein haTorah.”  After his Aliyah, the congregants threw the ceremonial bar mitzvah candy, and everyone sang a hearty Siman Tov U’mazael Tov and danced warmly around him at the Torah.

The man that was called up had tattoos on his arms and was an artist living out of Guatemala. From the four corners of the Earth, Hashem gathers His people. I literally welled up in tears and was crying at the beautiful sight of this man coming back for the bar mitzvah that he unfortunately never had.

His father was sitting next to me, and I asked what led to the bar mitzvah today, after all these years.  He leaned over close to me, and told me:  “I am sick and have only a short time to live, and I am making amends for my life.”  He reached out lovingly and touched his son’s arm and hand with such deep joy at his celebrating bar mitzvah today.  He told me longingly that his son was moving back here in the next few months. And I cried again.

An old man with a walker was sitting behind me then asked jokingly: “What comes next–the circumcision?”  My tears suddenly turned to a smile as I had to laugh at this old and beloved Jewish humor, like my parents and grandparents had.  I remembered my own father how happy and proud he was when I sat next to him in Shul praying and learning–continuing the long, long tradition of his father and father’s father, going back thousands of years.

Today, our people celebrated the bar mitzvah of one of own own–a hearty mazel tov and the extending of unconditional love to all of my brothers and sisters.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is business and technology leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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