(Interrupting the story.)
I volunteered to chant Torah in a few weeks at the community retreat, and what did I get to read? Names, lots of tongue-twisting names. Elitzur, son of Sheday-ur. Nachshon, son of Aminandav. It's the census at the beginning of the book of Numbers. At first I thought, how boring, but as I read it over and over tonight, staying up much later than I had planned, I began to feel like I knew these guys. I recognized some of them, in fact, from the section about sacrifices that I chanted on Chanukah. The first 21 verses of Bemidbar will soon be part of my memory and so part of me, and I will always be on a first-name basis with those twelve very important people.