Sunday, November 27, 2011

Leather's in the Air

Tomorrow, my son Yitzchak will don phylacteries for the first time. The custom is for the boy to start getting the hang of phylactery-winding a month shy of his Bar Mitzvah. Yitzchak's birthday is the eighth day of Chanuka, and so the big day for leather straps (Nyuh uh uh) falls tomorrow.

We're going to set out for the Western Wall early in the morning and Yitzchak will do the deed at the Wall with immediate family in attendance. We'll put out some pastries and drinks and then pack up the kids for the ride back to Efrat. Then we'll go to Yitzchak's school and have some more pastries and drinks with his classmates and teachers.

I'm thrilled because this is a win-win situation for me. I get to see all my kids at once. I watch Yitzchak reach an important milestone. I get to see the Wall again. My son gets to reach a milestone at the Wall. And best of all: I don't have to fuss or do much at all except show up and schep nachas (reap joy).

For the last week or so, Yitzchak has been doing a little personal countdown: "I can't believe that in one week, I will have a hanachas tfillin (donning phylacteries ceremony). I can't believe that in three days I will be old enough to put on tfillin."

And so on and so forth.

Dov and I can't help but get a kick out of him because this particular child has the sweetest little boy's voice in the world. He sings like an angel in the pure high voice of a child. Yet according to Jewish law, he's becoming a man. We just smile to think about it and go with the flow. He may not have the outer trappings that come with being a man, but we don't worry that the voice change, acne, and adolescent awkwardness have not yet arrived. We're in no hurry and we're happy to make a fuss over our little man.

Yitzchak is a nudnik in some ways, but he's also a deep thinker and quite earnest. I am very proud of him and expect him to have a brilliant future. He's that kind of kid. Sure I'm prejudiced. But as mother of the soon-to-be Bar Mitzvah boy I'm entitled to kvell (Yiddish for swell with pride), right?


  1. So exciting Varda! Much nachas to you and Dov!!!

  2. Anyone in need to learn more on tefillin...just check out Youtube, and learn how to make, cut, adjust, and wear'em.