This week, our youngest daughter, Kira, becomes Bat Mitzvah. Her Torah portion happens to be B’har which means “on the mountain.” This is a portion of perspective, a chance to gain some “height,” and to evaluate what is meaningful to us.
To our tradition, this portion teaches us that rest is valuable, and that we should truly embrace that rest after years of working the land. “When you enter the land that I give you, the land shall observe a Sabbath of God…In the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath of complete rest, a Sabbath of God… (Lev. 25:2,4). For the Torah, rest is fundamental to all of creation, humans, animals, the land itself is meant to be productive at times and to rest at times. We must remember that taking rest benefits our health, the health of society, to the health of the earth.
When we rest, we may also gain perspective- hopefully the same breathtaking perspective of being on a mountain- “b’har.”
I can’t say the last month has been close to restful planning Kira’s Bat Mitzvah, in fact, it has been quite the opposite. But as I take time to write this EKI to you, I am taking a moment to step onto the “mountain” to remark and gain perspective on an upcoming event in the life of my family- Kira’s Bat Mitzvah.
As I stand on the bimah this Shabbat next to Kira, I will be not only looking out on our many loved ones, but I will also be reflecting on all the love, laughter, and learning that has happened for her at KI. In the preschool, Kira met life-long friends, and she learned valuable life lessons. She learned about Shabbat, holidays, and traditions. She knows the value of belonging to a community, and that her greatest joys and sorrows are shared and held by a loving embrace.
She knows that her parents met at KI, we got married on the bimah- the same place where she will have her Bat Mitzvah, out of the Torah KI created- the one Ross and I wrote in when we were just married. She will dance with her closest friends and family on the same dance floor that Ross and I danced as a newly married couple.
As I stand on the mountain, I can see the past, the present and the future melding together. I can see the blessings of our KI story continues to play out in Kira’s life and in our lives. I can take time to say to all of you- I am grateful for this opportunity to be your cantor, and to share in my family’s joy with all of you. Our lives have been blessed and deepened because of how we’ve shared this journey together.
Our family will celebrate, on Friday, May 12, through song and with our KI Sisterhood. Kira has seen at KI how strong women like our Sisterhood women make a difference and devote themselves to community. We are so excited to celebrate women’s voices and the 110-year history of Sisterhood.
Please join us at 7:00pm for services followed by a festive oneg sponsored by the Levy family and Sisterhood. On Saturday morning, May 13 at 10:30am, join us in person or stream www.kenesethisrael.org/stream for the Bat Mitzvah of Yakira Diane Levy followed by light refreshments/Shabbat treats and fellowship. We look forward to sharing this special time with you.