Rabbi Adam Starr of Young Israel of Toco Hills wrote to his son from the perspective of his son’s new siddur on the occasion of his chagigat siddur at Atlanta Jewish Academy.
I am your very own siddur. I love the way you and your parents decorated my cover, making me feel so special. You’ve been working so hard at school, waiting for this day. You were so excited to receive me.
This morning you and your friends held and caressed me like a new baby, flipping through my pages with great pleasure and joy. You and your friends embraced me as if you had received the most prized possession in the world. I also like when you kiss me, especially if you drop me — but try not to do that too often.
I can’t wait for us to get to know each other better. You know the Ma Tovu, Adon Olam and Shema, and there is so much more to learn. Pretty soon Aleinu, Shemoneh Esrei and Ashrei.
Right now you are slowly blending my letters into words; before you know it, my words will flow from your lips.
But please don’t read me too quickly; treasure each of my words. Grown-ups sometimes rush through my words and really should slow down; it is not a race to see how fast you can finish me.
I am so lucky that I get to grow up with you. I want you to know that I will always be there for you; just remember to bring me along.
Whether it is a sad time, a happy time, a difficult time or a wonderful time, you can always turn to me to speak to Hashem. I will always have the right words; I can help you open your heart.
When you daven from me, you are reading the same words that Ima and Abba have davened with throughout their lives, the same words your Safti and Tahti and Safta and Papa have used, and the same words that the Jewish people have used for thousands of years.
And no matter where in the world you go, please take me along. My words will be the same that you will find in any shul in the world. This means wherever you will be, you will always feel at home with me.
Over the years you will probably swap me out for another siddur. I am told I even come in an app version. But you are really not leaving me at all because I am the words on the page much more than the page and binding itself.
My words are a treasure that will grow with you, guide you, challenge you, inspire you and uplift you. It won’t always be easy to connect with me, but as you get older, I promise you will see more and more meaning in me.
Adin, I can’t wait to begin this life journey with you. Thanks for taking me along.
Love, Your First Siddur