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Saturday, September 23 2017

Bar Mitzvah Stuff

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My son became bar mitzvah a couple of weeks ago.  A few people asked questions about his d'var Torah.  With his permission, then, here it is:


Shabbat Shalom, (Pause)

My Torah portion is Chayei Sarah. It translates to the life of Sarah, but really is about Abraham burying her and finding a wife for his son Issac. My Torah portion starts with Sarah dying and Abraham finding a grave-site for her; he is offered the grave-site he wants as a gift but he insists on paying the market price. Next Abraham sends his servant Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac. The servant goes and finds Rebekah who draws water for him and his camels. He gives her gifts of gold and is invited into her family's home. They let him speak and he says that he would like to take her back to Canaan to be a wife for Issac. The family says they want to stay with her for 10 days, but Abraham’s servant says he would like to go immiediately. They asked Rebekkah whether she wanted to leave right away and she said yes. They went back to Canaan and Issac met her. The fell in love at first sight.

While looking at my Torah portion I found one thing very interesting and this was Rebekah giving the servant and his camels water. This I thought was a telling factor of Rebekah’s character. Her family also invited him into their home. The servant was a complete stranger and yet they treated him like a friend.

I think that the way that Rebekah treats guests and strangers is how we should treat everybody. My Torah portion teaches us compassion and respect. This is because Rebekah understands how thirsty Abraham’s servant was and gave him water. I also think that her family inviting Abraham’s servant and his camels into their home is respectful because he had something to say and they gave him a chance to say it. I think that we can follow Rebekah’s model today by giving to people less fortunate than us. I think that we can follow Rebekah's family's example by giving people a chance to speak their mind without fear of criticism.

To me the Torah portion is about respect and kindness. I think that it tells us to respect and be kind to everyone. I think it tells us to not only be kind, but also to encourage everyone to be. I think that it tell us that we should try to make this world better by making it more respectful. To me this is expressed in a saying said by a Rabbi named Hillel he once said “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” To me this is like the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

To conclude I would like to thank some people for helping me become Bar Mitzvah. I would like to thank <> for inspiring my love of Judaism. I would like to thank Rabbi <> and Cantor <> for helping me prepare for my Bar Mitzvah. I would like to thank Morah <> and all my Religious School teachers for helping me understand Judaism. Lastly I would like to thank my parents for helping me study and helping me become Bar Mitzvah.

Shabat Shalom

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My talk with the kid
Authored by: dbsmall onMonday, November 16 2015



I’m so proud of how well you did today, leading the congregation in prayer this morning. But more than that, I’m proud of the wonderful young man you’ve become.

When I asked if there was anything in particular you wanted me to say, today, your answer was simply, “No. Say whatever you want. Just DON’T MAKE PEOPLE CRY.”

This reflects how you’ve approached a lot of things, including your bar mitzvah preparations. You’re a caring person, looking out for friends and family. And you dismissed any concerns about the details.

From the time you were born, Mom and I have had lots of discussions about where you got certain traits (besides being caring).

And, more often than not, the answer is, Mom.

You are sensitive, funny, athletic, clever. Mom.

Sometimes, like when you’re pushed to practice your Torah verses, you can be stubborn and a wiseacre.

Because ultimately, you did study it. You did learn it.

And sometimes, you are so opinionated, curious, and INTENSE. I don’t know where you got that from.

Just a second…congregation>they're not crying. You're not crying. I'm not crying. NOBODY'S CRYING. I wish Bubbie and Grandpa could have seen you, and heard you, and admired you, today. They are the only people who might be as proud of you as I am.

And on second thought, I think I know where you got that intensity. That’s straight from your grandparents.

I’m very excited to have one more thing in common with you. I’m proud that, like me, you have become bar mitzvah. I love you, Coconut.

(And as long as I can still reach, I get to kiss you on the forehead...)


Edited on Monday, November 16 2015 by dbsmall
Another speech
Authored by: dbsmall onMonday, November 16 2015

My uncle gave me a photocopy of the letter my grandfather gave him, on my uncle's bar mitzvah.


It is as follows:


Dear <J>,

     This is a significant day in your life.  According to Jewish tradition you ar enow considered old enough o be counted a member of the community.  In reality it is only a beginning of your preparation for adult life.  I'm glad to say that your mothe and I are very proud of your progress so far and feel confident that if you continue to try as hard and use the same efforts you used so far, you should have a very happy and successful life.  As you begin to understand what type of life you wish to lead, many problems will confront you and sometimes it will not be easy to reach the right decisions.

     The advice which I as your father can give you is:

  1. Acquire all the knowledge which you possibly can, and keep on learning all the time.
  2. Have courage, don't be afraid and never believe that a thing cannot be done, even if others tell you so.
  3. Believe and trust in God.
  4. Always try to be honest and do what your conscience tells you is the right thing to do.


Good luck to you and may God bless you,



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