The clock could be your worst enemy Mendel, but instead you make it your best friend.”

“Every time you do a mitzvah you’ve elevated the moments spent in that mitzvah. Every time you help someone, visit a friend, daven, learn…time has become precious. When you inspire others to do mitzvos they elevate time in your merit”

This was my message to Mendel on the night of his Bar Mitzvah.

3 years ago today when we celebrated Mendel’s Bar Mitzah in a room full of family, friends, and joy, we shared a video presentation with our guests. I chose the perfect photos, the perfect music, the perfect quotes from Torah, and told Mendel everything we wanted to tell him about how proud we were of him. How he had a gift that not many people his age have: the gift of understanding the preciousness of time. As our guests laughed and cried watching the presentation, we rejoiced in the moment, truly believing we had a million more moments like that to come.

If a lesson can be learned from both the recent hurricane and Mendel’s birthday it is how quickly and unexpectedly something complete and whole can be destroyed and lost. And how just as quickly, love pours out from all directions to support, hold, and rebuild.

When Mendel passed away just a few weeks after his Bar Mitzvah this video echoed painfully in my mind. The words, the message, the song I used…. Why I chose to say these words to Mendel at a time when we thought we had a million days with him ahead of us, I will never understand. We continued to watch it as a family, but it felt too painful to share, like whatever feelings were haunting me should not haunt anyone else.

As time passes and we witness our loved ones celebrating joyous occasions and suffering tragedy, we witness the preciousness of time. In honor of Mendel’s birthday we would like to share his Bar Mitzvah video with you, something we never thought we would want to do.

More than any words I write can explain, as you watch this video this will all become clear. You will understand why it hurts to watch, and hopefully you will also understand why we are sharing it with you now.

Perhaps the message of making each moment count, of elevating time by doing mitzvos, of using each minute to do something good for someone else, the message of how precious time is… Perhaps the message we intended for Mendel is really Mendel’s message to us.

With hesitation, humility, and belief in the times of Moshiach when we’ll be with Mendel again, we share this with you.

Happy Birthday Sweet Mendel