Hope you’re having a great day.
I attended a Bar Mitzvah this past Shabbos.
The boy is a Yeshiva day school student and was reading the entire Torah portion.
And that’s no small feat for anyone.
But this young man was presented with a very unique challenge.
In the middle of the Torah reading?
His nose started bleeding!
Amazingly, he didn’t lose it!
He read a little further, stopped, got the bleeding under control and read again.
And like just about every synagogue on Shabbos?
There was a doctor in the house!
He came up and did what was necessary to actually stop the bleeding.
Everyone felt bad for the poor Bar Mitzvah boy.
And like many others, I wished I could think of something encouraging to say to the boy.
It was the doctor who came up with it, and he said to the Bar Mitzvah…
“Today, you personified the strength of the Jewish People…
Many times in our history we got “bloodied”…
But we kept on going!”
… And this really spoke to me!
I’m sure you remember my Uncle Jack.
As I told you recently, he grew up in Riga, Latvia.
He’s one of the very few survivors of the Riga ghetto.
And he spent his “teenage years” in more “camps” than I can remember.
He’s also one of the very few who survived a concentration camp called Stutthof.
He was on a “death march” when the Russian Army liberated him on March 10th, 1945.
… Yesterday was an amazing day for him.
He celebrated a very special simcha (joyous occasion).
It was a bris, a circumcision.
Of his great grandson!
That’s something amazing for anyone to celebrate.
But for my Uncle Jack! A holocaust survivor!
It’s beyond comprehension!
… I just spoke to Uncle Jack and he told me something else amazing.
(Just about everything he tells me is amazing!)
He was coming back from the celebration with his son and with his grandchildren.
(The grandfather of the new baby and his kids.)
And what did his son do?
He took out a book of the Talmud and started reading.
And they all studied it together.
… My Uncle Jack suffered in ways we can’t imagine.
He was “bloodied”.
But like the doctor said to the Bar Mitzvah boy?
Uncle Jack kept on going. He rebuilt his life.
And like the Bar Mitzvah boy? He kept reading the Torah!
He just returned from the birth of a great grandchild.
With three generations learning Torah together!
All the best,
Rabbi Moshe Katz
2832W. Touhy Avenue
P 773. 761. 0400 ext. 201
F 773. 761. 9262