The Mystery Man at the Bris
Yesterday, when I arrived at the bris, I recognized a man walking by me towards the men’s side of the shul.
My mind pondered that for a nanosecond. Did I know him from the neighborhood? Nope. Does he work with Josh? Nope?
And a nanosecond later I forgot about the mystery completely, mouthed a heartfelt mazal tov to Aderet, the bris baby’s mother, and sat down next to another friend I hadn’t seen in way too long.
About a half-an-hour later my friend leaned over to me and whispered, “Look who came…It’s the father of Gilad She’ar!”
And I looked over at the men’s side, and I saw that the man I’d recognized, not from the neighborhood and not from Josh’s work, was Ophir She’ar, whose son Gilad HY”D was one of the three murdered boys.
Soon after that Ophir Shear was called up to sit in the Kiseh Shel Eliyahu and hold the baby during the bris as the sandak.
My friend whispered, “I bet he came because they’re going to name the baby Gilad…”
But then they announced the name. And it wasn’t Gilad.
“He must have come because he’s a friend of the family, or maybe a relative?” I suggested to my friend.
But after the bris was over, I asked Aderet what their connection was to the She’ar family. And she explained that there was none whatsoever.
But, she said, “We felt that with everything going on in Israel now. With the murders of the boys. And the war. And everything we’ve been through as a people over the last few weeks that we just had to invite a member of the three families to be here with us today.”
Ophir Shear is a busy person. He’s a lawyer and a father and his son’s murder has, sadly, made him a public figure. So I was quite surprised to hear that he agreed to travel an hour from his home in Talmon to join us at this small and modest bris. And he didn’t only come for a few minutes and leave. He stayed for close to three hours. Through the bris. And the speeches. And the meal. Celebrating the birth of the baby of complete and total strangers.
Shortly before birkat hamazon another friend leaned over to me and said: “Imagine what it is like to be a person who, no matter where he goes in the world, just seeing him makes people cry.”
Which made me think…
For those terrible 18 days, Ophir She’ar’s son became our son too. We prayed for him. And we cried for him. And we yearned that his father would soon be able to realize his dream of keeping his lost son safe underneath his tallit during birkat haKohanim.
And, I thought, maybe the reason why Ophir She’ar came to the bris, and stayed at the bris was because he felt that too. He felt how we had adopted his son and his family into our hearts. And he felt our love. And adopted us back.
No longer complete and total strangers.
But a single family. An eternal nation. United. Through good times. And hard ones too.