Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welcome to the Covenant, Yonatan Shmuel ben Yehoshua Adam!

Yom revi'i, 24 Av 5771.
I never looked this beautiful after giving birth!

This was a special day for the folks in Mishpachat Mizrachi.  And it unfolded sort of the way most things do in this brave new cyber-world.

I was waiting for my Yeshiva Bochur's mefaked (commander) to call to tell me his arrival was imminent.  In Israel, commanders make a point of visiting the home and parents of their soldiers, to get to know them a little better.  (I love this army!)

The day was wearing on, and I hadn't heard from him.  I could see "Chok Murphee" (Murphy's Law) getting itself all set up to make the day interesting.  I had to be at work at 3.  I work on the computer and phone at home; so while not what I would have wanted, we could still have our visit.

I was finally at work, knowing that I had telephone meetings with students at various times throughout the day.  But I had to leave the home phone turned on.  I was waiting for the aforementioned commander's call... and I was waiting to hear from the Dearly Beloved in the States, who might call me at any moment with the name of our new grandson.

A few minutes after the brit milah would have started, but too soon for the name, the phone rang.  Commander?  Nope.  A dear friend from Baltimore, asking me where was the bris.  (Only in Cyberspace.)  She was disappointed.  "I went to the wrong shul," she said glumly.

"Don't worry!" I reassured her.  "Nothing ever starts on time!"  I gave her the correct location; and we wished each other mazel tov.

No call from the commander...  a very long session with a student...  Now I had a ten-minute gap to give a quick call to the States.  Surely by now the results would be in...

I called my son, Soldier Boy, father of the newest grandchild.
Photos courtesy of the amazing mechutan.  It pays to marry into talent.
"Yonatan Shmuel," he said.  He then proceeded to give me the Reader's Digest condensed version of his speech.  "Shmuel" is for Shmuel HaNavi, who had a very close connection with Hashem, and for my daughter-in-law's grandfather, whom my son never had the privilege to meet.  He was a man who cared very much about family; and he was also a person steeped in kindness.  My children are hoping that these fine character traits will be passed to their son.  "Yonatan" is for Yoni Netanyahu, who like this baby was born in the States, of Israeli parents.  "Yoni was the hero of Entebbe," said Soldier Boy, with some emotion.  The 1976 "Operation Thunderbolt" (later referred to as "Operation Yonatan"), during which IDF special forces soldiers rescued hostages in a daring raid, gave us many heroes, but only one soldier-martyr, the commander of the operation.  Naming his son for Yonatan Netanyahu also represents to Soldier Boy his hope to very soon return to their Home in Israel.

Five minutes into our call, my cell phone went off.  Well, I reasoned, if it's the commander, I can always call him back in just a moment.  Soldier Boy told me about how well his father spoke, and that he was honored with the job of being the sandek.  The house phone rang, and I hung it up.  (Rude, I know; but one doesn't get to visit one's grandchild's brit milah three thousand miles away every day.)  We exchanged a few more hurried words -- I still had this meeting with the student in a couple of minutes, after all -- and the house phone went off again.

As we'd exchanged most of the critical information, with the "I love you's" and the "I'm proud of you both, and happy for you!" thrown in for good measure, I told my son I had to go and answer it.

With as much charity as I could muster, I answered the phone, prepared to tell the commander that he'd have to wait through my meeting with the student, if he'd care to...

"I'm Ms. Ploni, and I represent Such-And-Such organization, and we want to know if your husband can perform for us some Sunday or Thursday."

After responding incoherently to the lovely lady and gently unplugging the house phone, I prepared quickly for my meeting with the student, who also lives in America.

Still no word from the commander.

Chok Murphee rides again.

But I have a new grandson, with a very beautiful name, filled with spirituality, kindness, and hope for the future.

Welcome to the world, Yonatan Shmuel.

Mishpachat: family of
Brit milah, bris: ceremony of bringing a new son into the special relationship with the Creator of the world
Shul: synagogue
Mechutan: the father of one's child's spouse
Sandek: the person honored at a Jewish brit milah with the task of holding the baby.  (I hope the Dearly Beloved enjoys his sin-free status for as long as possible.  I love the percs to these honors!)
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