Open letter to Zeri Kochavit, my fourth child

We name you Zeri Kochavit that who you are is a collection and expression of the brightest light and warmest hope, to be an expression of value and beauty for the glory of the community.

Dear Zeri,

   You came into this world, lovingly, at the right time, when your brothers and sister were asleep. Following your almost 3 year old brother ziv, you were born in our house, further making it our home.

   While we wanted your help on last year’s taxes, jokingly wishing you had been born in 2020, but you are here now and you needn’t have come any sooner. The proceeding day was embarrassingly tragic, after an even longer, unpredictable year.

  The week you arrived we began rereading the book of Exodus. At what was a previously unpredictable moment, following generations of agony, Moses takes a stand to lead the tribes of Israel to freedom. But the journey is full of its own treacherous and ambiguous moments. Once they arrived, as themselves, far from the time and space of slavery, in the midst of wild possibility, they were called to share the best of their materials and their creative abilities to make a beautiful vessel for the story they all shared.

  For the people of that generation, the fast transition from complacently painful existence into an ambiguously treacherous and wild freedom unfolded so quickly that details seemed superfluous. The Israelites, when preparing their leaving, are instructed, of all things, to take the gold of the egyptians.

   As civilization is left behind, there is a store of value to be captured and transferred. While a paradoxical contradiction to the moralistic culture of the bible, the people aren’t taking the gold for themselves. Rather it is to adorn others and to glorify what is shared in the community. So when they were completely beyond Egypt their mission was assigned to build a tabernacle in honor of Gd and the Torah. The gold, the very same that was taken from their oppressors, cryptically taken from the preceding way of life, was used to adorn a holy, communal object. And not only that but everyone brought forth the best of their gold and their craftsmanship to contribute to the project. 

   We named you Zeri Kochavit. Zeri, meaning my bouquet, or my crown, is the word for adorning crown built for the tabernacle from the stolen gold. It was a Zer Zahav, a golden crown. 

   When you were conceived, we really didn’t know what was happening — in the present, from moment to moment, unsure if there’d really be a today like today: where we rejoice in your arrival. In that time, the only thing we know for sure was you. That you were coming and that you’d be here. Though mom was full of love and overflowing with you, we didn’t know what to expect of the approaching seasons and though we wished for relief, we still don’t know. 

  We smuggled you, in mommy’s womb, out of a chaotically oppressive existence. And now that we have you, we want to adorn our family in the growthfully golden possibility which you now radiate. 

  Zeri Kochavit, Zer also has a floral, bouquet association. It can mean a bouquet, wreath or decorative garland of flowers. Kochavit can mean star or small planet. The wreathed planet could be understood as Saturn, which is the ruling planet, supposedly, of your Capricorn birth. In the cool nights leading up to your birth, your older brother and I would gaze up at the sky and say goodnight to the stars.

    Kochavit aslo means asterisk, so we could write your name as Zeri*, when you’re a rock star. It’s a reminder that some things aren’t present or apparent. 

   We name you Zeri Kochavit that who you are is a collection and expression of the brightest light and warmest hope, to be an expression of value and beauty for the glory of the community.

   As you follow your big brothers and sisters into the world, we welcome you to be lively and bright as your name. We love you and wan you to be all the best of yourself, to grow into fearless, brilliant, compassionate person. May you continue to light our darkness and give order to our chaos.

  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on all of this.

A video of our welcoming