Good morning everyone.
Many of you are aware that my first-born is a wonderful Megillah reader. For those who are unaware of what that means, it means that he is able to open an unmarked Hebrew text and chant it with the proper cantillation. This is no small feat. We read this every year at the holiday of Purim.
Over the years, he has done more than read it in shul. Last year, he read for his school. He also went downtown to read for a colleague of mine who was in physical therapy after a significant stroke. He understands the idea of mitzvah (commandment) and of helping others to fulfill their obligations.
I did not get to hear him read this year. A friend of mine has assumed the pulpit out in Kingston, ON, about two hours east of Toronto by train. The congregation out in Kingston has no reader. They paid Jesse's train fare. I dropped him off on Friday at Union Station. He got on the train and went his merry way. He was a little nervous about his first train ride solo.
I will assume that he read brilliantly. He always does.
He has taken some of the next steps of growing up. It is a very mature decision to travel to a far-off land on your own for this. It is very mature to be able to do it.
I suppose that I too have taken the next steps in growing up. There was never any question in my mind that he would go once asked. There was never any question in my mind that Jennifer and I would send him. When one deals with the idea of commandment, certain decisions are made much easier very quickly. Still, I was sad to see my kid go. Jennifer and I will need to come to terms with the fact that he will likely do this for others, and far away from us, for many years to come. Our pride in him knows no limits. The ability to let him go on to bigger and better things knows a couple of limits, particularly in realizing that he might not always live in his lair in the basement, ready to play a midnight game of ping pong. He might not always empty the refrigerator at inopportune moments.
Jesse - well done to you. Your mother and I are always exceptionally proud of you, especially as we watch you travel outside your comfort zone to be there for others.