Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe,
shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh.
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
After Saturday’s worship service, in which my youngest daughter celebrated becoming a bat mitzvah, I really felt the Shehecheyanu prayer in my bones.
This is the Jewish prayer recited on special occasions. As I stood on the bima looking out at our friends and family, all there to celebrate my last child’s bat mitzvah, it seemed that really could only be a miracle that we had reached that moment.
To be sure, my daughter worked very hard with her teachers to learn the required Hebrew, the prayers, the chanting system (trope), the Torah portion, the Haftarah. But making it happen also required the enormous good will and generosity of many, many people over many years. There could have been any number of obstacles to prevent it from happening. We are privileged and blessed to live in a place and time where we could provide her with the people and the time and the things she needed to accomplish it.
Here are just a few of the things that help with bat mitzvah preparation:
|Torah portion book and prayer book|
|Time to grow|
|A reminder, such as this Bread of Affliction, of how difficult some things are,|
and that torah study is really not one of them, so get on with it.
|A study partner, especially one who teaches you|
to memorize your portion by making a dance out of it,
and teaches this to you outside on a nice day.
|Gefilte fish? No, forget it. Gefilte fish does NOT|
help with torah study. It is useful, though,
for squeezing the tofu.