Daily Archives: July 19, 2009

Barmitzvah – the Redux

As regular readers will know, we are making another barmitzvah at the end of the summer. My two eldest sons were born 13 months and 4 days apart.

Last year was the first barmitzvah and it was awesome. I worked really hard for it to be perfect, and my son couldn’t have been happier with his weekend. He is the type of kid that likes to be centre of attention, and is not nervous at addressing a crowd.

Our second son, affectionately known in these pages as Hopalong Squiggs, is more content to be behind the scenes, out of the spotlight. But he can’t stay there now, as it’s his moment to shine.

Every child is different, every simcha is different. However some things need to remain constant. When I was reporting on last years events I commented on how well everyone got along – step families and ex spouses and new spouses etc.  I am proud that we all put aside our differences for the sake of the barmitzvah boy, and I am confident that this upcoming barmitzvah will be the same.

This barmitzvah is bittersweet in a way. It’s probably the last barmitzvah we will make in Montreal. So I guess in some ways it will be somewhat of a farewell bash too. (ok so I am already panicking that I know no caterers in Monsey, know nothing about the halls or who does tablecloths – and I have 18 months until the next barmitzvah to think about it!! And we haven’t yet moved….)

This past Shabbat was a year (in the Hebrew Calendar) since the last barmitzvah. And what a year it has been. I met and married the love of my life, and we are in the process of moving to be with him in NY. Last year I was happy at this time, happy with the person that I was, not dependant on anyone for that happiness. This year I am even happier as I have the KoD to share that joy!

I am so excited to be at Squiggy’s barmitzvah, to watch him become a man under the watchful eye of his father and stepfather and brothers and the men all gathered round the Torah. (I would love to be standing next to him too, but that’s not how we do things here). I know in my heart that I have raised him well, brought him to this point in his life to accept the responsibility of an adult Jewish man and all that entails. I am proud of the person that he is, and I am proud to have helped form him in that way.

I listen to him practice his parsha, and watch him practice putting on tefilling. He is a leftie – so he does it different from his brother. Every time I watch this I tear up. Last year this is what I wrote about my oldest laying tefillin. The feelings are no less awesome watching Squiggy put them on. In 10 days he will be putting them on in shul with a bracha in front of the community. He will put them on every day after that for as long as he lives (except Shabbat and holidays). This is an amazing undertaking, one that I as a woman cannot fully grasp. I know Rashi’s daughters are reported to have davened with tefillin – but I am not so holy that I wish to take on this mitzvah.

I have been so blessed to have so many simchas in my life. This is the third in just over a year. 2 barmitzvahs and a wedding. May it be Hashem’s will that we celebrate many many simchas together in the coming years.

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Emunah and Bitachon

I recently guest posted on DovBear on the subject of choosing to be a religious single mother, and another guest poster called one of my sentences into question. Here is the original article , and this link is to the question.  Below also the text that is being debated.

I also wondered, where is this woman’s emunah, faith, in G-d? Does she not trust that He will send her a husband when He decides it’s the right time? That if G-d decides she should have a child, then He will make it happen the right way?

A discussion ensued into what is emunah, how can we call into question someone else’s emunah. Read the comments on both those posts – it makes for extremely interesting reading.

But here is my confusion. What is the difference between emunah and bitachon? Emunah is always translated as faith or belief in G-d and bitachon as trust in Him. What is the difference? And once you understand the difference how to you explain it to a child? To someone just starting out in Judaism? I very much look forward to your answers.

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