My wife said I should have made notes and as usual she was right. Because all eyes were on me as I stood tightly squeezing the microphone, I couldn’t figure out what to say. I am never at a loss for words and yet here I was at the party celebrating my son’s Bar Mitzvah and I was absolutely speechless.

I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind, “Ben Gurion was WRONG !” My wife responded with that quizzical look that she gives me when every I start at point “Z” to get to point “A”.

“Ben Gurion was wrong when he said that any Israeli that does not believe in miracles is not being a realist. What he should have said was that any JEW that does not believe miracles is not being a realist. Because as I stand here in front of so many of you who I thought would be too ill (or worse) to come tonight, and see you all alive healthy and enjoying, I have my proof that God STILL does miracles.”

Indeed my son’s Bar Mitzvah last Shabbos Mincha WAS a miracle. It started between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur last year with knee surgery and and in the thirteen months that followed, my beloved wife had a serious strep infection that almost resulted in her death–followed by six weeks of intravenous antibiotics and open-heart surgery. Her brother spent two months in the hospital and two months in a physical rehab center after having two toes amputated. My mom followed with four hospital stays after her last stay we were told it would be impossible for her to come to my son’s honor (she has a major operation to come). When we planned to take a little vacation for some well deserved “R &R ” we got a call an hour before our departure telling us that my wife’s father had to be rushed to the Hospital. Even the Dog wasn’t immune, she came down with some sort of “doggy neurological condition” and she had to be hospitalized for a week.

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Yet I stood before my guests and saw everyone there (except the dog), my wife’s brother, my mother, my father-in-law and especially my wife who spent the six months after her operation putting together the celebration (my role was to agree with her)

Throughout the thirteen months of hospital visits and medical decisions, whenever we approached the breaking point me or my wife would cry out ” Why God–why US?” and to be honest I still don’t have the answer. What I do know is that without the sickness my son’s Bar Mitzvah would have been a little less special, and the attendance of family a little more taken for granted.

In the movie OH GOD! George Burns in the role of God says:

“Oh, every now and then I work a little miracle just to keep my hand in. My last miracle was the 1969 Mets. Before that, I think you’d have to go back to the Red Sea—aaahh, that was a beauty”

Miracles are rare, I am just so happy that God saw fit to bless my family with the miracle of my son’s special day.

Baruch Atah Hashem, Elokaynu Melech Haolam, Shehecaynu v’keyamanu v’higi-amu la-zman hazeh.

Praised are you our God, who rules the universe, granting us life, sustaining us and enabling us to reach this day.