Inherit the Living
I am under attack. It seems like almost every other night I need to put on my uniform, be the victim of blasting noise, of children screeching and running in all directions, and walk into yet another battlefield called a Bar-Mitzvah.
Seriously though, I love celebrating with our friends on their joyous occasions. For the most part the food is good, the speakers tolerable, even inspiring, and the Bar-Mitzvah child surprisingly entertaining.
What most impresses me though about Bar-Mitzvahs are not the children coming of age, though they are certainly impressive. (If half of the “eulogies” that parents bequeath upon their children at these events would be the whole story, the children would not have much more to accomplish in life.) What impresses me most about the Bar-Mitzvah celebrations are the grandparents.
These are people who I usually know from a distance and I have only had limited interaction with them, if at all. However, one can often see the strong and positive impact that the grandparents have imparted, the living legacy that has been imprinted on the grandchild’s personality DNA. This effect is frequently accomplished from another continent, yet the menschlict character traits shine through.
Abraham has related concerns as to what legacy he will leave his progeny. Rabbi Hizkiyahu ben Manoach (Hizkuni), wonders as to Abraham’s questioning of God’s promise of having a child by Sarah. Hizkuni explains that Abraham was not worried about God delivering on his promise. He was worried about how long he himself would live after the birth of Isaac and what he would be able to pass on.
Abraham’s concern was that his servant Eliezer would still be running the household and would then dictate and interpret the directions or the “Will” as he saw fit. Abraham wanted to be the one that would impart both the financial, but probably more importantly, the spiritual heritage that he had worked so hard to create. Abraham knew that the best way to pass on a legacy is to do so in person and to make sure the child has truly absorbed the “inheritance” during the parent’s lifetime.
May we all continue to play a part in the work of passing on noble legacies to our progeny.
To the very special grandparents of the most recent Bar-Mitzvah boys I had (and will have) the great pleasure of celebrating with:
Rafael Nissim Wiesel
Aharon Yehoshua Baumol
Asher David Taragin
Akiva Gilad Brody