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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Funny story? You decide...

Part I

At a bris of a family I knew well, I knew one set of the baby's grandparents, who lived in my community, but not the other set of grandparents. When I met the mother-of-the-baby's father for the first time and figured out who he was in relation to the baby, I made the mistake of saying to him, "O! You must be the other grandfather."

I meant no harm - simply that I knew one grandfather already, and since the baby has another one, I've now identified him.

In a half-joking but half-extremely-serious tone he said to me, "The other grandfather? I am not the other grandfather! I am the baby's grandfather. There are two grandfathers. Neither one is the other."

At least he was fair to his mechutan (is there a word in English for your kid's in-laws?).

Even though I meant no harm, I learned my lesson. Now I tell the story of how I learned not to call any grandfather the "other grandfather."

Part II

At a different bris, the family kept on calling up "the baby's grandfather" to participate in the ceremony - except that there were four of them! Grandfathers, I mean.

Finally, when the last grandfather was called up to serve as the sandak, who holds the baby during the bris, as I was positioning the baby on his lap, I told him the story (Part I).

I said, "I once made a mistake, so I never call any grandfather 'the other' anymore."

Without missing a beat, he said, "Well there were a lot of mistakes made here. And that is why there are four grandfathers."

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