The fact that we are celebrating together here today is a true miracle. I think that most, if not all of you, are aware of at least some of what we went through to be able to welcome this baby boy, Hillel Yitzchak, into our family. After rounds of failed fertility treatments and an emotional, complicated journey of being approved as a fost/adopt family by Los Angeles county, we were pleasantly shocked when the pregnancy test Marcus has no idea why he insisted I take turned out to be positive. For us, it’s impossible not to see G-d’s hand as the third partner in the creation of this beautiful boy. G-d waited until I had a light semester of schoolwork so that I could handle the demands of school, motherhood, and the fatigue of the first trimester. And G-d waited until Meital was mature enough to be the wonderful big sister she is proving to be – helpful and loving to her little brother.
And it was Meital who first suggested that we name the baby Hillel. As soon as she said it, we knew that we had found the boy’s name. We gave this baby the name Hillel – praise – in praise of G-d’s wisdom in knowing what would really be the right time for us to add a baby to our family, and in thanksgiving and praise for having him in our family and in our lives.
Although he isn’t named after anyone in particular in either of our families, we do hope that Hillel lives up to some of the qualities embodied by the famous sage Hillel. Like the sage Hillel, we hope our Hillel grows up valuing other people’s opinions while still fighting for his own, and we hope he honors and reveres the Torah, Jewish learning, and finds his place in our tradition.
On the day that I found out that I was pregnant, I imagine that my reaction was a bit like our matriarch Sarah’s. I thought I had come to terms with our inability to conceive on our own, and now I was presented with proof otherwise. I was even supposed to attend an optional adoption class that night, but at the last minute, our babysitting fell through. I didn’t quite know what to make of it all, whether to believe I was pregnant and skip the class or rush around trying to find a new sitter in case the test was wrong… But just a couple of weeks ago, as we were sitting in shul on Rosh Hashanah and reading about Sarah’s reaction to the news of Yizchak’s birth, I knew that that was also my reaction, our reaction. Not that people would laugh at us, but that people would laugh with us every time they heard this boy’s remarkable story. So, as is fitting for a boy born during Sukkot, when one of the illustrious guests we invite into our Sukkah is our forefather Yitzchak, a boy whose very existence brings more laughter and wonder into the world, we gave him the middle name Yitzchak.
Hillel Yitzchak, his big sister Meital Ayelet, and his parents, thank you all for coming and celebrating with us, and we invite you all to please eat!