Want to keep in the loop on the latest happenings at Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side. Subscribe to our mailing list below. We'll send you information that is fresh, relevant, and important to you and our local community.
Printed from ChabadIC.com

English Blog

Bar Mitzvah in the Sky

Blog.jpgA close friend and community member was getting married in Israel and I very much wanted to be there to share in the joy of his simcha. But oi, the 10-hour flight, not to mention all the time spent waiting in lines and going through security, was enough to make me reconsider. I vacillated for a few days, but in the end I decided to go. I booked an in-and-out flight, giving myself just 20 hours on the ground in Israel, which meant I could be back with my family for Shabbat.

My departing flight was a day-time flight, so after the seat-belt sign was turned off, I began walking the aisles looking for tefillin "customers." "Excuse me sir, are you Jewish?" I convinced 15 people to do the mitzvah of tefillin right there on the airplane, culminating in a bar mitzvah for one of them—Mark, who had never put on tefillin before in his life.

Mark was flying on a birthright trip together with about 40 others. I explained to them that while I've performed many bar mitzvahs over the years, this would be the very first at 30,000 feet above ground!

I asked the flight attendant, who is also a close friend, for some whiskey. We said l'chaim, sang some songs, and celebrated in style.

My favorite moment was when one of Mark's friends, after seeing me run around the plane asking people to put on tefillin and getting into some intense conversations along the way, said to me, "Rabbi, you don't really have a wedding in Israel, do you? You just like to ride the plane back and forth for the tefillin thing." If only she knew how much I detest travelling!  But it was all worth it, for the wedding I got to attend, as well as all the tefillin moments along the way.

We are all travelers, journeying through this transient world. This is the message of this week's parsha, when the Torah describes the Jewish people's journeys through the desert. Every day is a journey, every moment a priceless lesson that we should treasure. Every day of that journey, everywhere we go, we should search for the opportunity to create meaningful moments and encounters, so that we live each day to its fullest. Every moment wasted is one we can never recoup.

And oh, the flight ended up being so much fun. Hope the passengers enjoyed it as much as I did :)

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.