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The Blessing of Simcha and Shalom
This past weekend, my wife and I had the pleasure of making our first bar mitzvah, for our eldest son, Simcha Shalom. His name has a very interesting reason, of particular relevance to readers of this website.
Thirteen years ago, as many of you may recall, was an extremely difficult, turbulent and painful time for my wife and I. The controversial banning of three of my books took over our lives. People who have not lived through such a thing cannot imagine how painful it was - in particular, with former friends/ colleagues who turned on me, and with slander that was spread about me.
After several months of this, I decided to drive on Shabbos. Because I had to take my wife to the hospital. Hashem blessed us with something very special: A new child! We decided to name him Simcha Shalom. "Simcha," because he was a source of tremendous joy at a difficult time. And "Shalom," in the hopes that he would be a harbinger of peace.
Well, the latter part did not come true, at least not immediately. The controversy still raged for a year after he was born (and the ripples continue even through today). But he is certainly a peaceful child by nature. And he lives up to his first name, Simcha, in ways far exceeding our expectations. He is full of joy and exudes happiness and appreciation for everything in life.
Just to share one story about our wonderful son: Seven years ago, I bought a bookcase from Ikea, and one component turned out to be damaged. Frustrated, I had to drive all the way back, and I decided to take little Simcha with me. It was a long drive, and I got lost on the way. Finally we arrived, and then we had to wait in line for a long time; I got Simcha a drink while we waited. Then it was my turn, and they told me that they didn’t have that part in stock. I was fuming at the wasted afternoon. Then suddenly Simcha turned to me and beamed, “Aba, we’re having a special day together, right?”
Thank you, Hashem, for this wonderful blessing, along with all the blessings that You have bestowed upon me.