December 19, 2006

Ohad is Bar Mitzvah!

This is it —
The big day
has come...

Tons and tons of
Mazal tov!!

We love you...
The Zamzamiot ———>
Eliana, Orit, Mevasseret, Inbal,
Adi, Racheli, Neta, Chanah-Gila

With this giant poster, cards, and multicolored ribbons and balloons, the Zamzamiot (B’not Sherut Leumi [National Service Girls] volunteers at Zichron Menachem) decorated Ohad's bedroom as a surprise two days before he was a Bar Mitzva.

Ohad and the Zamzamiot have become great friends since meeting at the internationally recognized prize-winning organization that has been supporting kids with cancer and their families in Israel since 1990.

For many months, Ohad had been preparing for his Bar Mitzva – studying the Torah portion and Haftara he would chant, and learning the texts' meanings and messages in the life of the Jewish people and in his own life. And, as noted in my previous blog entry, Ohad had also been learning about the leukemia he has been fighting and its meanings and messages in his life.

“Life experiences shape us,” Ohad opined to me recently. “When I meet children as young as age four in the hospital, I have great compassion for them because they don't understand why they must get treatments and take medicines they don't like. OK, I am young, too, though I understand, and it helps.”

Last Shabbat,
on a crisp sunny morning in Pisgat Zeev, a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, Pa'atei Mizrach synagogue was bursting with Ohad's adoring parents, siblings, grandparents, other family, friends, teachers, and neighbors. When the Torah was removed from the Ark, and brought to the podium, in a sweet, strong voice Ohad recited the blessings and chanted, section by section, the portions.

First, from the Torah —

א וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב, בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו--בְּאֶרֶץ, כְּנָעַן. ב אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב, יוֹסֵף בֶּן-שְׁבַע-עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת-אֶחָיו בַּצֹּאן, וְהוּא נַעַר אֶת-בְּנֵי בִלְהָה וְאֶת-בְּנֵי זִלְפָּה, נְשֵׁי אָבִיו; וַיָּבֵא יוֹסֵף אֶת-דִּבָּתָם רָעָה, אֶל-אֲבִיהֶם. ג וְיִשְׂרָאֵל, אָהַב אֶת-יוֹסֵף מִכָּל-בָּנָיו--כִּי-בֶן-זְקֻנִים הוּא, לוֹ; וְעָשָׂה לוֹ, כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים. ד וַיִּרְאוּ אֶחָיו, כִּי-אֹתוֹ אָהַב אֲבִיהֶם מִכָּל-אֶחָיו--וַיִּשְׂנְאוּ, אֹתוֹ; וְלֹא יָכְלוּ, דַּבְּרוֹ לְשָׁלֹם. ה וַיַּחֲלֹם יוֹסֵף חֲלוֹם, וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶחָיו; וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד, שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ. ו וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲלֵיהֶם: שִׁמְעוּ-נָא, הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתִּי. ... — בראשית פרק לז

Meanwhile, Jacob settled in the area where his father had lived in the land of Canaan.
These are the chronicles of Jacob:
Joseph was 17 years old. As a lad, he would tend the sheep with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. Joseph brought his father a bad report about them.
Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, since he was the child of his old age. He made [Joseph] a long colorful coat.
When his brothers realized that their father loved him more than all the rest, they began to hate him. They could not say a peaceful word to him.
Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.
Listen to the dream I had, he said to them. — Genesis 37-44:17

And then from the Haftara —

רָנִּי וְשִׂמְחִי, בַּת-צִיּוֹן--כִּי הִנְנִי-בָא וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְתוֹכֵךְ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה. ... וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי, לֵאמֹר, זֶה דְּבַר-יְהוָה, אֶל-זְרֻבָּבֶל לֵאמֹר: לֹא בְחַיִל, וְלֹא בְכֹחַ--כִּי אִם-בְּרוּחִי, אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת. — זכריה פרק ב

Shout for joy, Fair Zion! For lo, I come; and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. ... This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, said the LORD of hosts. — Zechariah 2:14-4:7

We fool ourselves into thinking we know the future when we don't; into thinking that what appears true today will appear true tomorrow. Life holds much mystery. Meanwhile, we celebrate and we love.

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