“A guy can’t be pretty,” you said. Slightly intoxicated from David and Molly’s Shabbat Jell-O shots and lacking all inhibitions, I responded, “Of course they can! You, for example, are pretty.” It seems my first impression of you, albeit drunken, was almost entirely accurate. A year and a half later, I have realized that you are not just pretty but rather a beautiful person. On a regular basis, I notice your beauty. I notice it in your caring yet witty personality, in your spirit, your warm embrace and in your perspective on life, whether it be philosophical, or through the keys of your piano or the lens of your camera.
Your parents, brilliant as they are, named you Yosef on the eighth day of your life. In the Torah, Yosef was beloved to his father. As a demonstration of this love, his father gave Yosef the most beautifully colored coat imaginable. As a result, each day, Yosef was embraced and surrounded by vibrant colors. More important than his coat, however, were Yosef’s dreams. Yosef dreamt that sheathes of wheat, his brothers and the stars were bowing down to him. Ultimately, his dreams were fulfilled after a long period of strife and imprisonment. By the time he was 27, Yosef controlled Egypt’s land and food supply, his brothers bowed down to him, and Yosef determined his family’s destiny. Clearly, Yosef was not only beloved to his father; he was also special and greatly loved by God.
Thus far in your life, Yosef, you have learned who you are. You have accepted, chosen and owned the person God made you, including how beloved you are to your father (your genetic carbon copy), friends and family. You have embraced the vibrant colors of your life and have magically portrayed them through your brilliant photography and music. You have dreamt your dreams and are eagerly awaiting the day they will manifest before your eyes and end what sometimes feels like a prison.
Today is your 30th birthday and the beginning of a new decade in and a new period of your life. May you now grow to become more than a beautiful person but the extraordinary person you yearn to be. May you not only continue to inspire others, but also be surrounded by those who inspire you. May the people in your life seek the sound of your laughter the way you are so pleased by the sound of theirs’. May you fulfill your dreams and accept nothing less than their absolute achievement. May you have the revelation your parents did after only eight days of knowing you… that you are special and greatly loved by God.