May 8, 2008
My bar mitzvah
On April 6, I had my bar mitzvah at Vista Del Mar.
When I walked into the sanctuary and saw all my family and friends, it felt different this time.
There were so many people -- I was excited. I always love walking into that holy room; I feel God. When I touch the Torah, it's like touching God's heart -- this was really big! So many people. And I was scared.
Then music made me calm. I sang the songs with everyone and it made me feel loved.
I wore my tallis, like a sheet of God; it was keeping me warm. There are a lot of different kinds of warm, but this one went into my heart -- it brought light inside ... I am trying to describe it but it is hard sometimes.
It was interesting to hold the Torah -- it felt like I was holding my heart. When I carried it up the aisles, and everyone was touching the Torah, they were touching my heart. I was amazed.
I had to sit and regenerate as I waited for my turn to chant and read the Torah. I studied very hard to be able to read the Torah without vowels.
I worried that I would mess up. When I take out my limits, I free myself and am no longer scared. I realized I could not make a mistake up there. Elaine held me, Kat was there with music and Cantor Steve supported me.
My heart was going really fast. It was saying one thing: "All you need is your heart's desire and love is what my heart wants."
My heart uplifted when the words came out. I chanted them and it felt easy on that day!
I realize that when people accomplish something really big, life is great. When I was reading the Torah, I went into another world. It was peaceful.
I know that getting things and receiving things are OK, but giving back to the world is better. I will always give things to others. If you get something, you give back.
I received a yad from my grandpa, a Kiddush cup and lots of presents -- and, most of all, I got a message: always live love.
You can always get presents, but discover the gifts inside that are already there. You don't need so many things. If I could give up wealthy belongings I would, but the tricky thing is that we live in America -- and America is things, things, things -- but life outside our midst of clouds is love. Most people miss it.
Even I miss it sometimes and get locked inside myself with all these outside things -- I put what I want first. Sometimes I forget about nature and I can't lose my love of nature. It is like the door gets shut and I open it. The door in my heart opened wider to God at the bimah that day.
When I walk into the sanctuary all my desires are put aside. They may not disappear, but I open my heart to God.
I can't believe my family and my best friends showed up to support me. It made me feel special. I felt very touched and happy inside when everyone came up to me afterward. Now that I am bar mitzvah, I feel like I am growing up. I may not be a man on the outside yet, but I feel closer to God.
When I think of that day I think of it as the best day of my 13-year-old life. I have many great times in my life. That is a highlight for me.
Last year, Nes Gadol hosted these two special needs b'nai mitzvah