Blessing for Gavi

This blessing was offered for a legally deaf congregant on his 50th birthday.

Dear Gavi,

Welcome to this moment! You made it through twists and turns and lessons learned and signs along the way to help you reach this day and I think I can speak in the name of all of us who’ve gathered here tonight to celebrate with you this moment in time, into which you’ve arrived.

Your journey has been marked by the loss of your father, your love for tennis, your adventuresome spirit and you will share further teachings and insights from your journey later on during the service tonight. What stood out for me though, from the conversations we had in preparation for tonight’s service was the element of silence as a steady companion of yours along your journey. The silence, which, as you shared with me, has been a place of comfort and familiarity to you. I assume it had no little impact on shaping you to become the person you are today – in good times and in challenging times.

At the heart of Jewish tradition is the statement of faith found in the Shema, which means “listen” or “hear.” The opening line of the Shema is translated as: “Hear! Israel, Adonai our God is One.” Only when we are quiet enough to listen, when we become silent within ourselves so that we can hear the wisdom within and around us, can we really understand the essence of the divine.

I hope your source of comfort and familiarity will continue allow you to hear the wisdom within and around you.

In his book The Word, Noah Ben Shea shares a story about the Tzartkover Rebbe who, for an extended period of time gave no sermons or talks. His followers, confused, finally pleaded with him to offer an explanation. “There are seventy ways to teach Torah,” said the Rebbe. “And one of the paths is through silence.”

I hope and wish that your source of comfort and familiarity will continue to be a path of insight and teachings for you and those whose lives you touch.

It is my hope that on your continued journey, the silence may hold undistracted discourse between yourself and your understanding of God. In the silence may you find refuge. May your experienced silence be a pathway of Torah, a refuge of truth and goodness, insight and peace finding its way from to the world of silence to the world of sound.

An offering from the world of sound is the Shehecheyanu Blessing, expressing gratitude to God for allowing us to reach this moment in time, your moment in time, blessed by you and those that surround you. If you’re able and comfortable, please rise and link up with each other as we’ll offer this blessing for Gavi together.