"Do you have The Cup?," my father asked me, panicking that we could not find The Cup. This was the Friday night after my older son's bris, which had taken place that morning. The Cup has been used for generations for such occasions and my father had my brother bring it from New York to Pittsburgh to continue this tradition. The Cup was on the dining room table, safe and sound, but we were all a bit nervous until it returned to its proper home in Far Rockaway.
This silver Kiddush cup belonged to my great great great great great grandfather. No, those are not typos. My 5th great grandfather Joseph Strauss was born in 1750 and died in 1827 in Schollkrippen Germany. We don't know at what point he received the cup and we don't know how he acquired it, although it may have been made for the family as we had silversmiths amongst our kin. What we do know is that it has been passed down from son to son again and again for seven generations. The silver on this simple yet elegant cup has been worn down from usage over the years. These days, The Cup only comes out for brit milah and for Pesach. But it is a living thing in our family and needs to be used, even if only sparingly, to keep it healthy and well.
The first known instance of its use was for the bris of my great grandfather, Louis Strauss in Schollkrippen. It was used for the bris of my grandfather and of my great uncle in Schollkrippen. But in April of 1938, the conditions in Germany forced my Opa out of his small town and The Cup was one of the few pieces he was allowed (and encouraged by his parents) to take with him to his new home in the United States. He
married and continued the tradition by using it at the brit milahs of his two sons. It was used at the bris of my brother and again more recently at the brit milahs of my two sons, the younger of whom was born in July of 2007 and is named for my Opa and his brother. I know that the grandfathers of my family would be thrilled to know that their Cup has seen the family through so many simchas. May the tradition and The Cup continue for many generations to come.