I Thought I Had Written “Grandchildren”
“Observations by a 59 year-old man seen shopping for a baby crib at Target”
Our musically discordant rendition of Adon Olam continues ringing in my ears as we move out of the big shul to the adjoining room, into what used to be the main sanctuary but which now serves as the congregation’s social room.
All part of what I consider a makom kodesh, a holy place, made so-not solely by the presence of the Sefer Torah and other sacred writings but by all the folks who gather themselves to this place.
We are often mystified by a sense of wonderment which results from excessive dabbling in esoterica; the key to a mystery’s profundity might just lie in its simplicity.
The best poem is the one we wish we had written ourselves. How many times have you, with a metaphorical slap to the forehead, punished yourself for not having thought of it first?
I consider myself a student of the spoken and written word. Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but has the expression a special birthday, used to refer to one’s 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th … anniversary of one’s birth, become very popular of late? Seems like I’m hearing it everywhere I go.
Mind you, I have no problem with it. What interests me are the hidden meanings of certain expressions. For example, just the other day in shul, we celebrated a special 30th birthday in honor of which meat was served for seudat schlisheet, the third of three Sabbath meals. Now, serving meat on Shabbos is no big deal especially for Shabbos morning kiddush.
But for seudat schlisheet aka shalaseudos, a corruption of shalosh (third) and seudah (meal), it is not so common, especially in the summertime when the expectation of an ice cream treat just might push the tongue (which happened to be the meat of choice for this special 30th birthday occasion) back into one’s mouth. I don’t know about you, but for me, “tongue”, yuk!
As a matter of “fact”, even entertaining the fanciful notion of sponsoring a dairy kiddush could result in dire consequences: tzarat*, failure to find shidduchim* for your children or even premature death.
Observations by a 59 year-old man seen shopping for a baby crib at Target
Andy and his wife Andrea are the type of folks who share your joy as their own.
“This sort of thing happens for a reason,” Andy burst out. “Do you know the genders?”
“Yes! Identical twin girls and a new son. The symbolism of ‘a new son’ is especially staggering.”
Hold on! I know what you’re thinking … that I value “a new son” more than “identical twin girls”. Simply not true.
But for those who know the story of my son Ben’s death, the equation of one son lost, one son given appeals to our need to explain the inexplicable in a way that puts us at ease.
No one’s new life can be understood as compensation for the loss of another. Becoming a parent later in life is not the “returns department” of parental bereavement.
I promised myself that our new son would not be named after Ben; I have neither the desire nor room for two Ben(s) in my life.
Our new son and daughters, however, will understand what it means to love a sibling whom they’ll never meet.
I’ll see to that.
For the now, I’m off with my wife to the Fetal Maternal Unit for one of our last ultrasounds.
May All Go Well. L’Chaim.
*Tzarat: disease of the skin often confused with Leprosy, but which the Hebrew Bible defines as a spiritual malady, attributable to sin.
*Shidduchim: plural of “shidduch”, a marital match arranged by a matchmaker.