Saturday, August 29, 2009

Covenant (Warning: grab a tissue...)

Today is the day of Micah's bris, (ritual circumcision). Because Micah is not yet Jewish, being born of a non-Jewish mother, we had a little leway to schedule the bris at our convenience (as long as it was before he was two months old, according to the mohel, otherwise it would have to be done under anesthesia.) In talking about the bris to Adam's father, who came to meet his grandson, I got a little curious about what, exactly, the bible says about circumcision. I was amazed to see that our situation is addressed in Genesis:
And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male
throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money
of any foreigner, that is not of your seed. He that is born in your house,
and he that is bought with your money must be circumcised, and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Although I thing the original text was referring to slaves, not the children of surrogates, in mentioning he that is bought with money from a foreigner, it was pretty freaky to see our situation addressed here.

We had a wonderful, very special day. The house was filled with family and friends, good food, laughter, and adoring attention for Micah. As part of the ceremony, we spoke some words to Micah about his name, which I've included below for those of you who couldn't join us:

Dear Micah, before we tell you about your name, we want to tell you about the miraculous way you came to be here today.

You see, your daddy and I wanted to have a little boy so much that we flew across the world and enlisted the support of two amazing women. The first was a very beautiful Muslim woman named Neha, who gave us a tiny bit of herself to help us create you. The second was a small, determined Hindu woman named Rajeshree who carried you in her womb for us. We don’t know a lot about these women, but we admire their strength and we hope that we have helped improve the lives of their
families while they helped us create you.

Your mother,
Stephanie, also played a powerful role in your creation. Some women create a baby with their bodies, others use their brain to find a way to have a baby. Your mother’s persistence and her strong drive to have you kept us moving forward in the process of creating you. Some day, when you get bigger and ask me how babies are made, I am going to tell you that babies are made by e-mail, because you started out as a lot of e-mails flying back and forth between your mother’s computer and India.

We fell in love with you when you were just a tiny handful of cells, far away across the world. The fact that you are here today, growing like crazy and looking just like your daddy, is absolutely amazing. We take such joy in watching you grow and change each day

Now we want to tell you a little about your name. Your first name honors your grandma Myra, my mother. She was fiercely devoted to her family and loved her children unconditionally and without judgement. We hope that you grew up to view the world and its people with an open mind and open heart.

The M in your name also reminds us of your great-aunt Margie, who was Grandma Judy’s sister. We hope you are inspired by Margie’s creativity that you see around our house, and share her traits of empathy and warmth.

Your middle name, Gabriel, honors two women named Goldie. The first was my grandmother, your great-grandmother. She was a great lady endowed with an uncompromising sense of pride, a gentle spirit, and a resiliency for tough times. We hope that you walk with your head up high even when confronted with the biggest of obstacles On a side note… my grandmother made the best chopped liver in the world and I will be happily passing that recipe to you as well.

The second Goldie was my great-aunt Goldie. She was a vivacious and outgoing woman who was full of life. We hope your life is filled with the same spirit of joy that Goldie had.

And lastly, you will carry on my last name, Sacks. It is my father’s name and it carries the history of people that immigrated from Russia in 1905 They came to this country with big dreams and hopes of a better future. It is my final wish that you live your life – which could touch the 22nd century -- with even bigger dreams and even better future.

After we read this, I also read a poem I had written when Micah was just a few days old. Although this is a poem for Micah, I wrote it thinking that everyone needs to be reminded of how precious they were to their parents and families:

A poem for Micah

Never Forget

That there was a time when someone
Held your entire hiccuping body
In one hand, willing it to end

Anticipated your tiny darting tongue's
Search for milk and watched,
Ravenous with love
As you drained each drop

And studied how your whole face yawned

And never forget that your cheek was touched
-- oh so gently--with awe
And wonder at it softness

That no one had ever seen eyes
So intelligent
So silky
A mouth
o achingly bowed
Like rare seed pearls

And nevery forget that,
Bundled in flannel,
Your five pounds eleven ounces
Held boy, teenager, and man
Grandfather father son father grandfather
The last century and the next.

Micah was a trouper through the ceremony, crying only when he had to be naked, and enjoying the drops of Manashevtz wine he got to suck on afterwards. The baby Tylonal that he's one has him sleeping very comfortably, so I think he isn't in too much pain. Mommy and daddy are beat, though!


  1. Mazel Tov!!!

    Love, Sara

  2. beautiful, and yes, tissues were necessary! congrats on the big event!

  3. So so beautiful, and so agree with the email comment!

  4. The cermony sounds so beautiful- Micah has wonderful caring parents. Mazel Tov.

  5. beautiful words, guys. absolutely gorgeous.

    what a loved boy! and yes, what a clever mummy!


  6. How beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Love, Nicole

  7. You two (you three!) are so special. Thank you for taking the time to share Micah's bris with those of us far away. Thank you, too, for the belly laugh about how babies are made.

    I was struck by how Micah is truly a child of the universe, even as he is all yours.