Today I went to JTS to listen to Micah Liben's senior sermon. I was representing the greater Greene-Markowitz family today. The Libens and us are so intertwined. We are Ramah friends who have shared a bathroom and there are few things more intimate than that. Dan was my hevruta in Framingham and his son Micah and my son Roni married the Markowitz sisters. So we're almost related. Thanks to Fran, Roni got a tip about his eventual job at Ropes and Grey. First of all, it was grand to be with these great friends at a simcha (and not going broke because it's a wedding!). We were able to catch up. I learned that Jonah is making Aliya this summer now that he is graduating college. He has already joined a gar'in. Kol Hakavod.
Micah gave an excellent sermon. It was well put together, cogent, funny at times, and his delivery was quite good. This sermon will probably be the last one he gives wherein he cites the Malbim, Rambam, Midrash, Gemarra, and Rabbi Harold Kushner all in one sermon. He spoke about raising children and tied it into the inauguration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. He posits perhaps Nadav and Avihu were not seeking a power grab, but rather didn't want to go into the family business. The acted out by offering up that strange fire. His basic thesis is parents have an obligation to mold, shape, educate their children; however, there will come a time when they will have to step back and allow the children to make their own decisions even if those decisions are not congruent with their own hopes and dreams for their children. At that juncture all parents can do is love them.
I found it interesting that that was part of Hillel's thesis when he gave his sermon at my shul a year ago. Two rabbis sons going into the family business and charting their own path that is the same but at the same time different from their fathers.
Both Dan and Fran, the proud parents, were beaming. They had every right to. Yasher koach to Micah and to them for doing such a fine job raising the next generation.