I want to start by giving Hakarat Hatov to all those who were a big part of this joyous occasion-
To Rabbi Bengio, who has known Yoni since childhood, and travelled from Montreal to be a part of this simcha. Thank you.
To Rabbi Lankry, our Rabbi, Mohel, and friend, who stuck with us through so many years and so many different addresses, and continues to be a guiding light for us in so many ways. We very much appreciate it.
To Rabbis Zahtz and Pruzansky- for your tireless leadership of our community, thoughtful phone calls, and inspiring messages.
To our parents, Zevi and Rebecca Isseroff, and Solomon and Dina Abenaim, for countless things- including but not limited to giving birth to us, raising us, allowing us to marry each other, but also for your tireless efforts, your thoughtful chinuch, and your endless dedication as parents. We hope to one day become role models as great as you are.
To my Bubbi Gitu, who could not make it today- we know you are thinking of us and can’t wait for you to meet your newest great-grandson.
To our siblings- thank you for your visits, texts, calls, favors, and offers to help out. For dropping everything on a moment’s notice to attend one of our various parties… We are blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives who fall into this category.
To the wonderful staff and owners of Mocha Bleu- thank you for creating such a beautiful party.
To our friends– who have become like family– we are so grateful for every gesture, big and small, and for all you have done- the playdates, carpools, shopping, meals, party planning. The list goes on. We hope to be able to reciprocate the favors one day.
To my wonderful doctors- your support has been reassuring and I couldn’t have done it without the most amazing team behind me.
To Emmanuelle, Jakey, and Mica- thank you for your patience during the pregnancy. I’m sorry I couldn’t “bend down” or go up and down the stairs so much. But you guys stuck it out and managed to survive. You are going to be the best big brother and sisters for this baby.
And finally, to Yoni- my Ish Chayil… Thank you for believing in me. For letting me do this. For never saying “no”. For creating a life filled with so much happiness, I don’t ever feel I am lacking anything. I feel so blessed every day of my life- and am eternally grateful to have you as my partner in it.
A few years ago, when Mica was a toddler, I wrote an essay about having a fourth child. I imagined that this child would be a little boy, a spirited playmate to his older brother. They would race cars together on our hardwood floors, and spar happily, grateful for some attention. I thought I would call this baby, “Liad,” Hebrew for Mine, Forever.
But as with my other pregnancies and attempts at baby-naming, Yoni and I never have the same mentality. For months, I would read name-books and scour websites, creating lists of viable options. And then on a quiet evening, I could quickly share the list with Yoni, only to have him veto it all. “Liad” was on this trashed list.
I knew that we’d think of something after the birth. I knew that once we’d meet the child, the name would descend on us, as it had in the past. Each of our children had different names we had chosen earlier on, but those names were always switched last minute. I almost gave in to Yoni’s choice of a name, just to not have to think about it anymore, even though I didn’t love the meaning, and hated the way it rolled off of the tongue, especially depending on one’s accent. But then for some reason, Yoni liked “Liad”.
This past year has brought on a lot of changes for us in our lives. Together, Yoni and I have reevaluated things we thought were important, have tested our priorities. While we straddle both the materialistic and spiritual worlds, we know all possessions are temporary. We seek ways to elevate the physical, to bring on kedusha to the mundane, to change the ordinary to extraordinary.
But we have also been able to view relationships differently, to accept and adapt, and to embrace those around us, our families and friends. We know that they are the core of our lives, the ones who laid the foundation on which we have built, and continue to build. And the shalom and simcha that a family can create in a home is the true key to our happiness. Liad represents this- our desire to eternally love in the purest of ways, to build interpersonal connections, to grow and nurture our children. To create roots that will last long after other things may disappear.
There is an idea that when we sleep, our souls travel back to God, ascending and then descending through different realms of the spiritual before returning to the body. On the last night in the hospital, I had trouble sleeping, and I woke up as my soul journeyed back. I became conscious before it had fully returned, and for a moment, there was a pause as these words were whispered in Hebrew to me:
“Nishba ba’adar ohr”
My mind grabbed onto this phrase.
I opened my eyes and the meaning stayed in my ears. There was a promise that the month of Adar would bring light. The baby was born in the month of Adar, the month in which the story of Purim took place. Hashem’s name does not appear at all in the megillah, and we must actively seek out His presence through the hidden miracles, through the strips of light that can be shrouded by darkness. But when that light is found, the revelations are tremendous.
I immediately sent Yoni a message that I thought we needed to include “light” in the baby’s name, and as we texted back and forth in the early morning hours, we came up with the name “Meir”, one who brings light. We want our son to have the strength to become something, to shine, to be a light to others like he will be to us. To grow and develop beyond what we can teach and give, to show us the way. We hope that whoever calls out his name, “Liad Meir”, will be able to enjoy the light of our son, to cherish it and have it forever.
And then Yoni realized that his great-great-grandfather’s name was Meir. Meir lived a long life, passing away at the age of 94. He was a successful businessman in Paris, but his greatest attribute despite his accomplishments was his humility. He would sit quietly on the side during gatherings, and was never boastful. He radiated with a sense of tranquility, and was at peace in life. It is our greatest honor to name our son for this ancestor, the first child to bear his name. May our own Liad Meir emulate the positive attributes of Meir HaCohen, and may he fill every month, not just Adar, with the light of God. May he radiate and bring blessings to all those who come to know him.