Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
The video of this Bar Mitzvah was all over the media and social networks. Seven years ago, Shimon and Michal Gross lost their two daughters, Avigail and Yael, to pesticide poisoning while their two sons, Yizchak and MIchael, fought for their lives. The singer Avraham Fried came to visit them when they were hospitalized in critical condition in Schneider Children's Medical Center. He promised them that in the future, after they were strong and healthy, he would dance with them on their Bar Mitzvahs. This week it happened. Fried arrived unexpectedly at the hall in which Yitzchak celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and danced with him.
Shimon and Michal preferred not to be interviewed by the media, but they sent me a short thought on this week's Torah portion and requested that I publish it:
"Seven years ago, a catastrophe befell us. We lost our two precious daughters, yet within the darkness we merited the wonderful and miraculous recovery of our two sons, who emerged from death into life. In this week's Torah portion, our sages praise Leah, who called her son Yehudah which comes from the word hoda'ah
(thanksgiving): 'From the day the Holy One blessed be He created the universe, no one thanked Him until Leah came along and thanked Him.' The question is why Leah is considered to be the first person to give thanks. The patriarchs had already expressed their thanks to God. The answer is that many times we express thanks over special things alone, over miracles. Leah's innovation was expressing thanks for something routine, for a routine birth that many women merit to experience, for a healthy child just like millions of other healthy children all over the world.
Leah asks to preserve this feeling, to be thankful for what we take for granted and not to minimize it. We know from personal experience that what is ordinary and routine is the greatest miracle on earth."