Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mazal Tov on Your New Mitzvah

The following is a thank you note to a friend who invited me to be there when he put on his tefillin for the first time.  I know H's awesome parents gave it a lot of thought and hope that he will embrace the spirit and actions of our tradition - I think today was a great first step. 

Dear H - 
Thanks so much for inviting me to join in your minyan this morning, witnessing the first time you wrapped tefillin.  I think it is a nice idea to have some practice time before your formal bar-mitzvah to get used to the leather as it is a sometimes difficult .  
After we concluded davening and had some yummy muffins and smoothies, I was biking home and remembered the first time I put on tefillin; the awkward way it wrapped so largely around my hand yet the comforting feeling of having my Dad teaching me how "we do it".  But my story took a twist and I rarely used my tefillin except at camp and on a few random events or mornings.  That is until my first year of college, and I am proud to say that I haven't missed a day since.   
Don't get me wrong H - I am not trying to obligate or motivate you to wrap every morning. The reason my tefillin streak is 19 years strong is that there was a day I chose one mitzvah to do perfectly.  I remember learning, hearing or reading somewhere, that each person should choose one mitzvah and do it in an exemplary way (not a radom one like sending away the mother bird).  By choosing one everyday act that no matter what, rain or shine, good mood or bad, you will keep that custom alive and imbue it with meaning it will guide you in the years to come. I chose tefillin for many reasons (happy to share in person) - but hope that as you become 'of age' to do mitzvot, you will ponder and acquire one specific mitzvah that will be your hallmark. (funny that I know see that this is Chabad's advice for a bar-mitzvah project!) 
I look forward to sharing many good times (and muffins) together in the future.  Good luck tomorrow with the wrapping!

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