Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fulfilling The Mitzvah


Last night the snow and ice descended upon us covering everything in a frigid tapestry devoid of color. This was the landscape to which we woke today, the perfect clean slate by which our son to start his life as a member of the tribe. However, just like the faith that he has been born into, sometimes there are unseen trials that are cause for caution. Just outside our front door was a pristine shell of crystal clear ice. We took our time and made it out the door later than we had expected but we were safe and that is what really mattered.

After a quick stop at my parent’s house to pick up some backup, we made our way into center city Philadelphia and arrived at my father-in-law’s apartment about 20 minutes behind schedule. Family and friends were already packed into the place and overflowing into the hallway when we arrive and before we could make our way to the middle of the crowd the mohel (who was the mohel for my conversion) whisked us away to the back bedroom to make sure that we (including our son) were prepared for the experience that was about to follow.

For those of you who are not familiar, the mohel is the person in the Jewish faith who performs the mitzvah of brit milah, the covenant of circumcision, which was commanded by G-d to Abraham over 3,700 years ago. While rushed to begin, the mohel took his time during the ritual and made sure that our son was brought into the covenant the way that it should be done. After all, you don’t want a mohel to cut any corners.

While the act itself is something that is difficult to see, especially when it is your own son, it is also an incredibly moving moment for both the parents and the grandfathers. This is the moment that our son became a child of Israel. It was a moment that I will never forget and one that I am glad I was able to share with my family. Following the performance of this sacred mitzvah, our son was given his Hebrew name, Yonatan Yitzhak. This is a name that was easy for us to decide but one that also carries great meaning which I will write about in a future post.

The morning continued with our son a little sleepy and tipsy from the Manischewitz he was given before, during, and after the brit. The rest of us reveled in the glory and holiness of the mitzvah that had just taken place. Of all the moments and experiences that I have had within my chosen faith this, by far, is the one that carried with it the most meaning and made me feel closer to G-d. Our son was now a Jew just like his mommy and daddy.