Issue #30 – Burech’s COVID Bar Mitzvah; A Lesson in Acceptance

Posted on Posted in All Articles, Down Syndrome and Congenital Heart Defects

By S. Weiss – Burech’s Sister

Two years ago, when Burech turned twelve, he started talking about his Bar Mitzvah. He has not stopped since.

This milestone was going to be celebrated the right way. Burech’s Bar Mitzvah was going to be a gala event. A wedding hall was booked, tefillin ordered, and a photographer secured. We remembered the hairdresser for the ezras nushim, Burech’s favorite star singer, and a neighbor pianist – all were scheduled. A perfect p’shetal was chosen, and Burech started practicing promptly. A trip to the clothier brought Burech’s degree of excitement to an entire new level. He was going to be a bucher just like his older siblings and friends whom he loved. His Babi even crocheted him a custom gartel. Everything was set.

Then Corona happened.

At first, we were hopeful and optimistic. After all, The Bar Mitzvah was still a full two months away. Surely this Corona thingy would not last more than a couple of weeks! It did. When the big day got closer with no end of Covid in sight, we knew our grand plans needed a regroup.

That is how the night of his Bar Mitzvah found the Bar Mitzvah boy at the head of the family dining room table, surrounded by his siblings, parents and (cautiously insistent) grandparents too. The menu was planned and cooked with warmth by his Mom, the table set with love by his siblings.

We felt kind of disappointed for Burech. This was supposed to be his night, and it was unlikely that he would have another chance to celebrate such a huge simcha again. However, one look at his face reflected the biggest, ear-to-ear, face-splitting smile, and happiness oozed from his very being.

He proudly and flawlessly recited his p’shetal that he had practiced for hours during the endless days at home. He relished the moment, enjoying the small, tightly seated attendance, in embrace of only his very own family. Burech simply loved his Bar Mitzvah, it could not have been better. As a gleeful end to the event, Burech got to bentch mezimen on a sparkly cup of grape juice. That was beyond bliss; pure Gan Eden.

When thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. While Burech’s 13 (now 14!) years of life have taught many lessons to his family, friends and acquaintances, the most important and all-encompassing lesson of all is that of acceptance. Acceptance of Hashem’s will, acceptance of any situation Hashem puts us in, and acceptance of every human being that Hashem created. So what if we had all planned it differently? And what if our Burech does not look or act like a typical child? Just accept. On his side of the coin too, Burech is a model of acceptance; accepting and respecting others, accepting whatever life throws at him, all with a smile and nod of “bashert”. Of course, his Bar Mitzvah was to reflect this powerful trait personifying Burech; ACCEPTANCE.

P.S. As a cherry on the top of the beautiful celebration, a day after the Bar Mitzvah, Burech was treated to a surprise visit from the ever-famous Moishey Sander, accompanied by his chushiva father. Amid ‘Mazel Tovs’ and effusive wishes, Moishey handed over a large bakery box smelling deliciously and holding a beautiful, #13-shaped cake for Burech. This was the message attached, courtesy of the Editor in Chief of this magazine: Mazel Tov! Upon Burech’s Great simcha, his Bar Mitzvah. Our hearts rejoiced with you and we wanted to send you something when just you, his immediate family can enjoy and not have to share it with your simcha guests. (Note to Editor: might not be wise to put in this paragraph as it may cause severe jealousy among readers)