Sorry I have been posting at a slower rate than normal this week but I have a good reason. This Shabbos Mincha my son became Bar Mitvah. My wife and I are very proud. My son gave an excellent D’var Torah about his parsha Vayetzei and showed a bit of a wise guy sense of humor (I don’t know where he gets it from) I thought you might enjoy his speech which follows:
Shabbat shalom. This is a very appropriate Torah portion for me because it begins with a story about ladders. As most of you know my grandpa was a painter and he spent most of his life going up and down ladders. The ladder in Vayetzei however is a ladder going up to heaven. In last week’s parsha, Isaac thinks he is going to die and he wants to bless his son Easav before he dies. Jacob tricks Easav out of his blessing by putting on a costume, which is also appropriate for me because I was born on October 31st, which is some kind of costume day. In the Torah, 20 years pass and Jacob returns, and Isaac is still alive… making Isaac the biggest hypochondriac in the Torah. Anyway, after tricking Easav out of his fathers blessing, Jacob had to flee because he is afraid that his older sibling would kill him. That is definitely something I can relate to. Leaving home like this was really the first time Jacob is ever responsible for himself because he always stayed at home. This is similar to becoming a Bar Mitzvah because he is now responsible for himself.
Although my parents aren’t kicking me out tomorrow—– right guys??? My Bar Mitzvah means it is time for me to start understanding what it means to be an adult and accept more responsibilities. Even though it might take me a long time, (it most likely will) it’s time to start my way up the ladder. Jacob spends his first night on the run from his brother at what would later become the temple mount, and where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac——something else I can relate to —-Just kidding. In his dreams he sees a ladder, and on the ladder he sees angels going up the ladder and going down. In a way, this ladder was God’s advice to Jacob. God was telling Jacob that where you are on the ladder of mitzvot you should not worry about how high up or down you are. Just worry about the rung up the ladder from the one you are on now. Today as I become a Bar-Mitzvah I realize that I’m not at the top of the ladder —–because being at the top of a ladder would make my grandma nervous. I’ve just begun my journey up the ladder, and as long as I continue heading up the ladder, that is the right direction, I must always remember that it doesn’t matter how far up the ladder you are or how fast you’re going, and we all know I can’t move fast, as long as I’m heading up it’ll be ok. Every rung heading up the ladder is another joyous Jewish experience. I want to thank all the people who helped to make this day so special. I want to thank my family and friends for being here. Some of you traveled from very far away to be here and I really appreciate it. I want to thank my Teachers at Solomon Schechter especially Mrs. N. who has worked so hard to teach me Hebrew and chipped in by schlepping me home when my mom was sick. I want to thank Edith for helping me learn my Torah portion and for giving me confidence by telling me how great I was at it, even though I didn’t always think so. I would also like to thank Cantor for giving me that secret advice – I would tell you all what it but if I did the FBI would come after me. I would also like to thank Rabbi for always making the synagogue such a kid-friendly place. I also want to thank you for helping me with my Bar Mitzvah speech and helping me and my family when my mom was in the hospital. I wanted to thank my Grandma for making me eat so much but she made me promise not to. So I would like to thank her and grandpa for coming and delaying her surgery until after my bar mitzvah so she could come. I love you both very much. I would like to thank my papa for not biting my nose off when I was younger like you always said you would, because without a nose it would be awfully hard to make this speech and I would look a lot like Michael Jackson. But seriously Papa I would like to thank you and Jackie for coming all the way back to New York from Florida for my Bar Mitzvah, I love you. Now I would like to recognize my sister ——there she is. In all seriousness, I would like to thank my sister for being there for me. Although we argue I know you really love me and I know we’ll always be there for each other. I would like to thank my mom for planning my bar-mitzvah and for going overboard as you always do to make everything perfect for me. Thanks for helping me with school and driving me places – not bad for someone who had open heart surgery a few months ago. And most of all I would like to thank you for getting healthy because while dad tried very hard— we had frozen pizza for dinner every night and we were running out. I would like to thank my dad for telling the right jokes at the right times, and for teaching me that sauce, mozzarella cheese, and bread is a well balanced diet. I also want to thank him for teaching me that no Passover Seder is ever complete without cheap parlor tricks and that when you are done building the Sukkah there are supposed to be parts left over. I love you both very much and thank you for everything. Shabbat Shalom