From the Land of Israel I would like to bring you into my great simcha of the birth and bris(es) of our twin grandsons!
This past Friday was the double-bris in Jerusalem of Raphael Dov and Shmuel Aryeh Fried, the sons of our proud son and daughter-in-law Elazar and Aliza Fried.
Surrounded by more than 200 good friends, family and great rabbis, to say that this was an uplifting event would be a real understatement! The palpable joy and feeling of the Shechina, Divine Presence, in that room with such a holy convocation in the holiest of cities, left many with the feeling that they were elevated, walking away not quite the same as before.
I can certainly attest to that feeling, especially with the merit of serving as sandak for the first bris, an honor often reserved for a grandfather. (Luckily there was a second baby in tow to honor the other grandfather as well!)
It is said in our sources that the lap of the sandak is compared to the altar, and the baby to Isaac who was offered upon the altar, bringing tremendous continued (and much needed) merit to the Jewish people (and very humbling to serve in that capacity). Sephardic Jews especially have a custom to ask for a blessing from the sandak after the bris, as the bris elevates that person.
The double bris (which fell out on the sefira day of yesod d’yesod, for any Kabbalistic enthusiasts out there), I felt was so appropriately held in the days leading up to the holiday of Shavuos (which begins this coming Saturday night).
What we received at Sinai was the covenant, or “bris,” as the Torah itself is referred to. In fact, in order to be an appropriate vessel to receive the Torah and all of its light and holiness, anyone who had not yet received a bris had to do so before the Torah was given at Sinai. (The mohels were quite busy that day!)
In that way the entire Jewish people were elevated to be fit for the title of Chosen People, the true descendants of Abraham, who was first commanded in this mitzvah and brought into the covenant.
We connect back to Sinai and to Abraham with this mitzvah. One could especially feel that connection with four generations represented from our side and five on Aliza’s side from the Marcus family.
The past, present and future were all in that room. This is the message of Shavuos and the essence of the Jewish people.
A joyous and meaningful Shavuos to all y’all!