Letter to my great-nephew on his Bar Mitzvah

Dear Yonadav,

On the auspicious occasion of your Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem, Israel, on January 1, 2022, I extend my heartfelt wishes and congratulations.

Shabbat Shalom!

Reflecting upon the verses from Parshat Vaera, where G-d spoke to Moses, it resonates as if Hashem is directly addressing you. The narrative of liberation from Egyptian bondage, as articulated in these ancient verses, takes on a personal touch as we witness the remarkable journey of your life. Seventy years ago, your grandparents faced the hardships of Nazi oppression, akin to the pains and pangs of bondage.’ Today, in stark contrast, you thrive in an environment of complete freedom, nestled in the ancestral land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the very land Hashem pledged to your forefathers!

Yonadav, your journey mirrors that of Baby Moses, set adrift in an unpredictable and potentially dangerous world. Guided by G-d, supported by family, and fortified by community strength, we navigate life’s challenges to witness this momentous day of your Bar Mitzvah. You have evolved into a “Gibor Yisrael,” a true hero of Israel.

Amid the ongoing global pandemic, we can find strength and solace by living fully, embracing daily prayers, and enjoying the soothing melodies of music. This echoes the ancient Psalms, once chanted in the Jerusalem Temple. Today, we integrate these timeless Psalms into our morning prayers, drawing inspiration to face modern challenges.

On Sunday, we fill the air with song, expressing gratitude for the world bestowed upon us: “The earth is the LORD’s and all that it holds, the world and its inhabitants.”

On Monday, we express gratitude for our Jewish legacy—the Torah—with the words: “Hashem is great and much acclaimed in the city of our G-d, His holy mountain.” (Psalm 24)

On Tuesday, we thank our courts and judges for acknowledging their crucial role in maintaining social justice. “G-d stands in the congregation of the Almighty. Amid the judges does He judge to see if they will judge by the truth.” (Psalm 82)

On Wednesday, we pray for Ultimate Justice and a fair balance of retribution: “G-d of retribution, Hashem, G-d of retribution, appear! Rise, judge of the earth, Give the arrogant their deserts!” (Psalm 94)

On Thursday, we focus on the wonders of creativity in arts and music: “Sing joyously to G-d, our strength; Raise a shout for the G-d of Jacob.” (Psalm 81)

On Friday, the central theme revolves around unwavering faith and trust in Hashem’s tender care for the entire universe: “Hashem is king, He is robed in grandeur; He is girded with strength. The world stands firm; It cannot be shaken.” (Psalm 93)

On the seventh day, Shabbat, we say: “It is good to praise the Divine, to sing hymns to Your name, O Most High, To proclaim Your steadfast love at daybreak, Your faithfulness each night.” (Psalm 92)

On this day, I extend my blessings for you to persist on your path of Torah and mitzvot, becoming a source of pride and joy for all who are fortunate to know you.

A heartfelt thank you and blessing go to your loving parents, who have nurtured and guided you to reach this significant milestone.

With love,


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