I am in running a family business. My roles of Torah scribe, father, product manufacturer and client service all converge into a blur when creating important products such as an invitation monogram and Tefillin for Uriel, my son on the occasion of his Bar-Mitzvah.
Uriel Shear’s Bar Mitzvah monogram
Here we are, yes, father / son, teacher / student. This is all traditional, clear role playing but when you factor in the roles of supplier / client, it could become a bit confusing – only when you have a difficult client!
Uriel on the other hand was the best client that I ever had. When it was time to sit and think up a theme for his Monogram invitation, I cleared away my role as father and teacher and I approached my 12-year-old son as I would any client.
“Uriel, let’s begin with the following question, what does becoming bar Mitzvah mean to you and what message would you like to convey to all the people that you love?”
Uriel answered: “Becoming Bar Mitzvah means becoming a man, accepting responsibility and doing Mitzvot for real, (commandments) and this is the message that I would like to say.
I replied, “Uriel, that’s great, we could convey this message using text from any source. I could write it in the form of your name or initials and we could use any color scheme.”
Uriel was reminded of something in the Shema, so I told him to get a sidur from the shelf. He quickly opened the prayer book and pointed to the Emet, v’yatziv that follows the Shema. The words are: True, Grounded, Upright, Established, Straight, Faithful, Beloved, Cherished, Kind, Pleasant, Awesome, Strong, Proper, Accepted, Good and Beautiful!
Uriel said, “this!” “I want to use these words in the form of my name!” The father in me was a bit stunned because I always associated these words in liturgy as the human attempt to describe God and His Word. To associate this to little-old-us would be egotistic and perhaps blasphemous. I silenced the reacting father within me and affirmed my role as merchant, which is to simply listen to the client’s request, or at least to LISTEN carefully to what they MEAN to say.
I told Uriel that I understood these words to refer to God and Torah, how do these words refer to your name, Uriel? Uriel responded, “this is all what I aspire to become.” I said, “WOW, Uriel, you got it, ok, let’s do it!” …and this is how this monogram came to be, a process that took all of 15 minutes on a busy weekday, school night.
Tefillin practice: father and son
Today is the very first day that Uriel will be donning Tefillin with obligation. We are off now to do that right away!
See more of Uriel’s Bar Mitzvah on Uriel’s Bar Mitzvah page.
Story by Jamie Shear, Uriel’s dad