It’s the middle of the week, two days after Chanukah, one day after the memorial of my father’s transition, according to the Gregorian calendar. I attended a bris this afternoon at the local shul. While standing silently in the last row of a small sanctuary, during the proceedings, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, and the pensive quality of my thoughts, it seemed as if angels were gathered at this auspicious moment. Otherwise, since I had awoken at 1:00 a.m. this morning, and only dozed off for a brief rest at my desk, later in the morning, perhaps, because of lack of sleep, my imagination took flight and fancy, within the realm of the spiritual.
When the infant was named, seemingly so, after a prominent rebbe, I thought of the continuity of tradition across the generations. How my own great great grandfather, who my father is named after, studied under a Chassidic rabbi in Poland, Rabbi Perlow, who passed away in 1943. And, so, not only was the Chassidic heritage broken when my great grandfather immigrated to the U.S.; rather, also, that specific line of chassidism was interrupted; although, Rabbi Schneebalg continued the line of Bolechover Chassidism into the current century. Regardless, the personal connection for me is one only recently resurrected, so to speak, in the dark recesses of my mind, where memories persist, despite the conflagration of the Shoah.
When the infant was ceremoniously brought into the sanctuary, he was placed on a white pillow, wrapped in a bundle, and carried by the presiding rabbi. This occurred after everyone present was asked to stand, and remain standing for the entire proceedings. How apropos, I thought, for the infant to be honored as if being brought as an offering unto H’Shem; for, surely, the intent is for the newly born member of the Jewish people to “offer himself” as a soul committed to the observance of G-d’s commandments in every aspect of his life; and, he will be brought up with that intent. Within the framework of the religious family that he was born into, the customs of our ancestors are preserved, in addition to G-d’s commandments.