Danny became a Bar Mitzfah on May 20, 2017
He presented and chanted with poise, grace and confidence. As a father, I could not be more proud of his accomplishment. Following was the blessing I gave him:
In a world riddled with chaos and animosity, it is my sincerest prayer that we rededicate ourselves, individually, and as a family, to peace, compassion and understanding. Danny, you know I love you so very much. You have such a keen sense of right and wrong, an innate longing for goodness. May God grant you discernment and compassion as you navigate the complexities in this precious journey called life. And may God teach you to know when others need your compassion more than your righteousness. Because we simply cannot always know the full story behind the seeming wrongs of others.
May God lead you, and all of us, toward reconciliation and full restoration of what human pride has broken, that should not have been. And out of this brokenness, may God help you to find acceptance, wisdom and joy. Always find the joy.
I hate to break it to you, but you cannot avoid adversity. No one can, though many spend their lives trying. You will not always be able to run from conflict. You will likely cause as much suffering as you attract. Not on purpose, of course. But it will happen, nonetheless. So, may God grant you the empathy and the grace to understand human suffering and help you overcome the stubborn pride that keeps you from asking for help, that keeps you from asking “why.” May you discover there is strength in connecting with others; in being vulnerable. May you be that light of forgiveness and hope when others may not be able to see or appreciate it. May you be a builder of bridges.
May you learn the ways of peace and love and compassion. It’s a balancing act. Sometimes you have to have the conviction to stand for what is right, even if it means giving up your own heart’s desire. May God grant you the force of will to make the noble sacrifice when called for, to fight the good fight.
May God grant you just enough worldliness and fortitude, building on your formidable powers of persuasion, to turn your enemies into friends. But also the peace of mind to release your adversaries from your grip, if and when it becomes time to do so.
May God give you a burning desire to seek wisdom from His word, in the Torah, and in the quiet voice He speaks in your heart. May you not only learn how to forgive but also how to be forgiven, for little things and big things. Like breathing out and breathing in. Like blowing the shofar – imperfect and raw – the perfect instrument to express atonement.
And finally, may God grant you the serenity through all of life’s delicate negotiations, through all the chaos, to know that you are loved, that you are chosen, even though you’re flawed. May God grant you patience, because sometimes things happen for a reason, but sometimes they don’t. But don’t let that stop you. And above all else, even as you enter manhood, may you never forget who you are: a beautiful child of God, with whom He is well pleased.
May this be your blessings, And let us say: Amen