I wrote my speech this week, the one that I am planning to give at the barmitzvah. I had no idea that it would be as emotionally wracking as giving birth. I love to write, I love words, I love creating with the gift of words. I am hardly ever at a loss for words. Yet every time I have sat down to write this speech, I have been unable to verbalize my feelings. How can you write about unconditional love in words? How does something so profound, so much a part of who I am, get reduced to a few sentences, and have justice done to it??
I had some ideas for what I wanted to say, and I know I had to include a dvar torah, being a religious occasion and all. I didn’t want to say a drash on the week’s parsha, because I am sure the rabbis and other speakers will all do that, my son too. I wanted to do something different (hey I have to be me) but appropriate.
After the Barmitzvah is over, I will reprint the speech here. Hopefully it won’t be tear stained on your screen. But I wanted to share with you the main idea, because I cannot explain how it occurred to me, it just appeared through my fingers.
Every Friday night in many religious households the parents bless their children. They put their hands on the child’s head and ask G-d to bless them to be like Efraim and Menashe – for boys, and like Sara, Rivka, Rochel and Leah – for girls. It’s a very moving time, and I feel a tear in my eye with each child I bensch, every single time. I always end off by telling the boys that I love them (and usually leave them a huge lipsticked kiss in the centre of their foreheads)
So I decided to take this idea of bensching them, and find out why these specific men are to be emulated, and turn it into an appropriate dvar torah. It has a wonderful message to it, all about sibling unity, loving your brother as yourself, staying steadfast in Judaism no matter the exterior temptations etc. I think it is a wonderful and applicable message to a barmitzvah boy, especially who is one of four brothers.
Of course I added the requisite praise for my barmitzvah boy, and I also included a sentence or two for each of his brothers. It won’t be a long speech, but it will definely give the guests a glimpse into this mother’s heart, into how she feels on such a wondrous day.
Here is a brief excerpt:
“I am so blessed to stand before you all today. I make this promise in front of all of you. I will continue to raise my sons in the warmth and love of Yiddishkeit, I promise to do my best to continue to imbue in them a sense of belonging to their people. I thank G-d for His abundant gifts, and I thank Him for the opportunity of having these children in my life. While we may never know what’s in store for us, I have faith that it will all be for the good.”
I am hoping to speak just before my son, and to have the honour of introducing him. He told me he was sad in a way that my speech is happening on Shabbat – he wanted to videotape it and keep it for posterity. I haven’t let him read it, and have promised nothing it contains will embarrass him. I honestly hope I can make it through without crying too much.
A sweet little story. We were at the store this week picking up his altered suit and ties and stuff. He was so excited. I hugged him and said “son, I am so proud of you” (yes, tears in my eyes) and he said “Ima, why? Coz I was born?” and I said that that was exactly why. He rolled his eyes and thought I was weird. I told him that when he will be a mother he will understand 😉 . I truly am proud of him for being born, for being the boy he is, I am so honoured and privileged to be called Ima by the four most amazing sons in the universe. Being a mother is so much more than anything a word, a sentence, a book, could ever say.