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Friday, May 15

The Weekly Shtikle - Behar / Bechukosai

Tomorrow, we will be making a kiddush at our home, 3410 Olympia Ave in Baltimore, in honour of the birth of our daughter, Yehudis. The following is what I plan to say so don't read further if you plan on coming.

I am sure many of us still have the memories of the Birkas HaChamah experience fresh in our minds. One of the emerging themes of Brikas HaChamah was that of cycles - recognizing that HaShem created the world with various recurring cycles. The 28-year cycle, which is one we don't necessarily pay much attention to, was brought to the forefront on that special day. But the truth is there are many cycles we observe on a regular basis. The 7-day cycle of the week which renews itself every Motzaei Shabbos. The new moon and the new year also constitute times to refresh ourselves and start anew. (See an old shtikle for a discussion involving next week's haftarah.) The Yomim Tovim we celebrate each year also give us a chance to relive the miracles of the past as if they were happening today.

The beginning of this week's parsha also presents us with a number of important cycles. We have the Shemittah cycle which resembles that of the week and then the Yovel cycle when we essentially hit the "reset" switch at the end of 50 years. Another time when we are able to experience the "circle of life" is when we name a child after a close relative who has passed on. As Shelomoh HaMelech stated (Koheles 1:4) "Dor holech vedor ba." We have now been fortunate to name our three daughters after three special women who each had a profound impact on our lives. Our Nechama being named after my mother, o"h, whose Yahrtzeit is this coming Tuesday, and is Shaindy named after my wife's grandmother.

Yehudis is named after my Bubbie, my father's mother, o"h. I was able to spend a lot of time with my grandparents - when I was younger and they lived in New York and later when I spent a couple of years in Israel. Although many people probably remember my Bubbie for her delicious food she made, as grandchildren we can never forget the unconditional love she showered upon us with just a simple smile. We obviously wish she were with us today and we wouldn't have to name our daughter after her. But as we reflect on the "dor holech," the generation that has passed and how fortunate we were to be inspired by them, we can only hope and pray that our daughter Yehudis follow in the ways of her great grandmother.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka


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