Last week I was fortunate enough to officiate a baby naming for Stephanie and Steven's little guy in Allen, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:
Chaim's Hebrew name made me think about a little anecdote told by John Lennon: "When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life."
Stephanie and Steven, you clearly understand life. When I asked you what your dreams were for Chaim, you talked about how important it was for you, that he find love, and comfort and happiness.
How does one find love, and comfort and happiness? Well, I believe that the best way is through the other hopes you had for Chaim, namely, that he be his own individual person, that he accept everybody, that he be good and caring. I believe that it is through these attributes that one may find happiness.
This reminded me of a Yiddish word, that conveys those attributes, Mensch. What is a mensch? Well, like many Yiddish words it is way too rich to explain in one or two words. According to Leo Rosten in the Joys of Yiddish, “A mensch is someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being ‘a real mensch’ is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible.”
Stephanie and Steven, we all hope and pray your dreams for Chaim will come true. Through this may you and he find complete, utter and true happiness, and make the world a better place too.