Greetings and salutations! Thank you for being here. We really appreciate it. We know you have traveled from far or might have made some big or small sacrifices to be here. Our purpose is to share with Mateo his passage from boy into a man, following the Jewish traditions. I would like to thank Nina for her constant generosity and letting us use her house for this event. I would like to thank Sharon for all the work she has put to make this celebration memorable and for being the gracious hostess she is. I would like to thank Mirei for her enthusiasm and support to her big brother. Also, thanks to my brother Paco for his involvement with our family and his support with logistics. Finally, I would like to thank Will for guiding Mateo in this process. We really appreciate you being one of his mentors.
By being here, I promise you Light. Sharing this moment with Mateo will bring Light to him and will bring Light to all of us. You are here for a real spiritual treat.
Mateo came to our life and made us smile. He made our household happier. He made our extended family happier. Light. More Light. That’s what he brought home.
Then, he grew and EVERYTHING changed … In a way … We still get Light from you … Sometimes …
We tried to interest him in sports. We made him try soccer, and then little league baseball. He was more interested in baseball until he stepped into the dance studio. Everything changed and the rest is history. He said he knew he wanted to be a professional ballet dancer and a choreographer. He was 10 then. Now, he is talking about dance and technology (robots, computers, that kind of stuff).
It’s OK Mateo. You can evolve your points of view. You can have an idea of what you want to be in life and change it later on. You have the right to make decisions, and then change them. You have the right to make mistakes. At the same time, you have to own the results of your decisions. Today, that you become a man, you start owning the consequences of your decisions.
What does it mean to be a man? I know you are learning that now as part of your Bar Mitzvah preparation. Kabbalah teaches that, when you become 13 years old, your sins belong to you. Up till now, your sins belonged to us, your parents. Your mistakes were due to our incapacity to teach you properly. To give you a better example. Not anymore. You are a man now, and in the immortal words of Ben Parker: “With great powers come great responsibilities.” Now your life is your own; we won’t live it for you. You make your own path by walking your own path.
That doesn’t mean you are alone. We were, are, and will be at your side always. When you need to talk, we will be there. When you need to just feel our presence and know that we are at your side, with no words spoken, we will be there.
This is your spiritual manhood. You are still under our care and protection until you turn 18. Now that you are entering your teenage years, if you get drunk and crazy and get arrested, your sins are yours but we still have to bail you out. (Just don’t push it, ok?)
There is a song by Pink Floyd called “Time”. It’s about being ready to live life by using your time to fulfill your purpose. The lyrics go:
“And then one day you find
“Ten years have got behind you
“No one told you when to run
“You missed the starting gun”
Roger Waters, the writer of those lyrics, said that his mother had always told him that he had to be prepared for life. One day he realized that life had already started and that, ready or not, he was living it.
I know you won’t have that experience. You are starting your life as a man well prepared, with the great values you’ve developed. I want to think that our guidance and example have contributed to that. You were a noble boy. You are turning into a noble man.
I thought about giving you a series of pointers and advice. I realized that what I wanted to say would take the size of a book. I promise I’ll tell you all I want to tell you, but not right now. I’ll give you some one liners, though.
Follow your heart. Blindly. If you know what your heart tells you, go for it. No questions asked. It works. I know. I followed my heart and I found your mother.
If you like the teachings and principles of a wise person or a sage; follow those principles, not the person. We people are flawed. We are bound to let you down. Don’t follow the person, follow the principles.
Be a true friend and brother. Be good to the ones you love, friends and your family. Yes, including your sister. Remember, no man left behind.
Seek knowledge. Never stop learning. The truth will make you free. Remember, though, that knowledge also brings responsibility. You have to change your behavior accordingly. Once you know the truth, there are no excuses.
You have the power to learn and to change for the better. Just remember, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
I love you Mateo.