His dad came over to me during kiddush* and said: "I want to tell you something, Rabbi Shmuly".
Here’s the story.
It was the first day of Rosh HaShana this year, and we had just completed a wonderful service with guest Rabbi, Dr. Shmuel Klatzkin*. He was fabulous, along with our Chazzan* and our beautiful community that were gathered that day to welcome and celebrate the Jewish New Year as one people, with one heart.
“What would he want to talk about though, after such inspiring services” I wondered.
"Before we left for Shul*" he began, "my son told me that he didn't want to go. So I didn't force him. Instead we had a short conversation together”.
“It went something like this,” he told me.
“You know son, we're Jewish, and G-d wants us to hear the Shofar today and to spend time with Him, and with our fellow brothers and sisters at the Shul”.
“Sometimes we do things just because it's the right thing to do”.
He and his 9 year old son continued to have a wonderful little conversation about doing what's right, even when you don't fully feel like it.
"After the conversation we just waited," he continued.
“A few minutes later, my son came over to me excitedly and said; Dad, I want to go to the Shul for Rosh HaShana".
His parents came.
And his younger brother came as well.
They had a fantastic time, as always!!!
He was excited to come back for Yom Kippur as well, when Uri gets to blow the shofar during the break-fast with his friends.
With that, we went over to enjoy the delicious kiddush luncheon - that Fraidy and the women of our community had lovingly prepared- together with our brothers and sisters from all over the Okanagan who had come to join us for the High Holidays.
What Uri learned that day is something we can all take a significant lesson from.
To first establish what is right and what is not right, for me, at any given moment.
Whether it’s what I want to do right now or not is really inconsequential.
G-d created this world and He continues to create it and lead it every single day, guiding each and every one of us individually, and all of us collectively, under any given circumstance, with direction on exactly how to persevere with joy.
Notwithstanding what’s going on in the world around us, we can look for His wisdom contained in His timeless Torah to determine what’s right and not right, for us, at this very moment.
It inspires, uplifts, and places us in a space of positivity and light with which we can correctly take our next best step forward.
We’ll never again feel alone.
And best of all, we’ll ultimately come to enjoy and even cherish those right choices…..
Just like Uri did this past Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur!
P.s. His father, Dan, shared the story a week later on Yom Kippur in front of the entire Shul with some personal details. It was incredibly heartwarming for all of us in attendance.
*Literally, "sanctification," is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays and is followed by a festive meal.
*Associate Rabbi of Chabad of Greater Dayton, Ohio, an adjunct Professor at Antioch University and Senior Editor of Curriculum at JLI.
*Leader of the services. Often a Cantor.