There is a hereditary trait in our family called “Pa-itis.” It is named after my grandfather, Pa, who was born in Poland, spent time in a Jewish orphanage in Philadelphia after immigrating to America, and became a tire salesman. Pa, with no more than an elementary education, had the uncanny ability to tell his story to anyone and also illicit stories from those he came across. While it appeared annoying as a young kid, today I not only miss pa-itis, I realize it has been passed down the family tree.
Our Torah teaches us, “You shall explain to your child on that day.” We are commanded on Passover to tell our story as if we were slaves in Egypt.” Who are we without our stories and the defining moments of our narrative? A story teaches us where we came from, but a story will also guide us to where we desire to go. At a baby naming or in a eulogy, no resume is passed out. Rather, stories are told. These collective memories create a deeper meaning to our purpose on this earth, and transform mundane moments into sacred ones. May we all have a bit of that Pa-itis as our storied paths cross.