The Ultimate Gift: My Grandson’s Name

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By: Honey Good

Dedicated to my grandson, Robbie.

My first grandchild was born in Honolulu, Hawaii (where my children were raised.) I became a grandmother at a very young age -- in my early forties. Today, “this grandson of mine” is an NYU college graduate, a producer of documentary films and is getting married this fall. He is a grandson who never forgets my birthday or Mother’s Day. He calls at least once a week, we share emails, texts and he gives me very thoughtful gifts.

Two favorite gifts from this “grandson of mine” lead me into the story I am about to tell you. First, I must tell you the gifts. One is a rock my grandson picked up while hiking in Israel. I asked for one not store bought, but from the earth. Another is a pearl bracelet that he purchased in Honolulu, Hawaii. My grandson knows Israel and Hawaii are two of my favorite places on earth. The rock sits in a glass box on my writing desk, acknowledging my love of Israel and my love for “this grandson of mine.”

My dainty pearl bracelet (pearls symbolize the moon, grace and fortitude) on an elastic band with a dangling tiny silver turtle (turtles symbolize long life) is on my wrist acknowledging my love of Hawaii and “this grandson of mine.” Over the course of some twenty years, I have gifted my grandson (as all of you have) many “grandmother presents.” The most significant and life-long gift I gave him is his Hebrew name; a name “he will carry all the days of his life.”

I named him Moses.

I preface my story with a little history for those grandmothers who do not know the tradition of the baby naming ceremony in the Jewish religion. It is like the tradition of the christening ceremony.

In the Jewish religion, it is a Jewish tradition to give a newborn Jewish son his Hebrew name on the 8th day of life at a baby naming ceremony that is officiated by a Rabbi. This name is used at life cycle events: his Bris, his Bar Mitzvah and his marriage. Just as importantly, he has an obligation to live up to his name. Many baby boys are named for a deceased grandfather. Fortunately in our family all relatives were alive.

I listened carefully, in the garden of the other grandparent’s home, in Honolulu, as the Rabbi explained the importance of giving a newborn son a Hebrew name. I will never forget his words: “A name defines a person’s essence.”

As our family stood in front of the Rabbi, the Rabbi asked my daughter “What Hebrew name have you chosen for your son”? My daughter leaned over and whispered in my ear, ”Mom, what name should I give my baby?” In a split second one name came to my mind and I whispered back “Moses!”

“Oh mom! It is perfect. I love the name.” And then looking into the Rabbi’s eyes and in a clear voice she said, “Moses.” And Moses it was…and is!

This will always be the most profound gift I gave my grandson. Robbie, with this name, be a man you yourself will be proud of.

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