Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Words to Elianna upon becoming a Bat Mitzvah

This past Saturday, Elianna had her bat mitzvah service. It is customary in many synagogues for a parent to say a few words to the young adult during the service. Following are the words I said to her. Beyond the opportunity to kvell, I hope some parents may read this and see their own child, and their own feelings, reflected. And never to forget those feelings.

Elianna:

I went to a concert recently. Yes, really. Imagine that. You didn’t come to this one. Anyway, at the concert, the bandleader – you’ve met him once or twice, sort of – said this: "First thing you do, before you write a decent song, … before you play your first gig, you lay in bed at night and you dream yourself up. Everything you weren't in the day… So the first thing you do is, you dream yourself to life."

I thought about that quite a bit when I read your d’var torah. You’ve brought yourself to life, your whole life. You dream and imagine and read and create and you commit yourself to your friends and activities; every moment is an important moment, and every day can be the best day of your life. I think you’ve had about 4500 best days of your life so far, give or take a few hundred. If there’s a blessing I could wish for you, it would be for every day have the potential to be the best day ever.

I can’t tell you how to do that… except to be who you already are. People recognize your passion and your joy and your commitment, and they want to be with you. They want some of that. Step back a moment and take a good look around this room; it’s already pretty crowded in here and we’ll happily take some more. Look at the people who have come to share this day with you. Relatives and friends alike. They’ve come from all across West Bloomfield, and Farmington Hills, and Walled Lake and Southfield and Oak Park and Huntington Woods…and they’ve come from Ohio and Illinois and Minnesota and Virginia and Maryland and New Jersey and New York and Massachusetts… and they’ve come from Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Colorado, southern California and northern California, and they’ve come from Ontario and Quebec. They come to be with you, they come because they recognize the magic, the mystery, the miracles that you embody. To tell you that this moment is your moment, that would be redundant. You already make every moment your moment. But I will take this brief moment to thank all of you who have come here, however long and however far, to share this simcha with Elianna, and with our family and with our community.

So, take a look around, and also take a look right next to you. You have been blessed with loving parents and grandparents, and the best big brother in the history of big brothers. Aaron has been your best friend and mentor since the day you were born, and you have been each other’s most enthusiastic supporter in every thing you’ve ever done. My wish for the two of you is to retain and enforce that bond, every day.

I’m going to stop talking now. Lori and I love you, and we hope that you are as proud of yourself at this moment as we are proud of you. Dream yourself to life. Every day.