Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Adam Lee on Rosh Hodesh

Happy Rosh Chodesh Sivan!

It was exactly one month ago, on April 24, Rosh Chodesh for the month of Iyar, when I was heading home on my bike. Suddenly, my front tire hit a pothole. My foot slipped from the pedal, and I fell forward. Somehow I stayed on the bike, but when I looked down, I saw that my leg was cut open. I was in shock! All I knew, at that moment, was that I had to get home, and despite the pain, I rode the whole way back.

Now here we are, just one month later, and I am riding my bike again. Everyone knows that when you fall off a bike, or a horse, you have to get right back on. I know this firsthand because I happen to have fallen off both a bike AND a horse, and I am pleased to say that each time, I have gotten right back on!

Rosh Chodesh is the first day of each new Jewish month. The moon begins a new cycle on that day. In ancient times Rosh Chodesh was important because the calendar was dependant on the moon so that people knew when the holidays were supposed to occur. It also symbolizes a renewal for the people. The thought is that Israel may suffer but it always survives and renews itself.

That is also the theme of Rosh Hashanah, the start of the new year, when people are given a chance to start again. This holiday declares the new beginning with the sounding of the shofar.
Not long ago, I had an encounter with a shofar… sort of. Unfortunately, it was still attached to the ram. You see, I’m an animal lover, but it seems that not all animals love me. As part of my mitzvah project, I volunteer at the Nature Center. One day, while I was raking some leaves, I was suddenly shoved from behind. I turned to see that a ram had hit me! Obviously, he did not want me in his space! This particular ram was one of the more aggressive ones and known for butting other animals, but not usually people. Lucky me!

This was not the first incident that happened at the nature center. While cleaning out the chicken coop, I was attacked by two turkeys. One pecked my ear while the other jumped on me! I did not let these incidents stop me from helping at the Nature Center, I was just more
careful around the animals after that.

At hockey camp last summer, I was given the Mr. Hustle Award for my dedication and perseverance. I may not have been the most talented player but I never gave up. The coach thought that I had a great attitude. It was a grueling week but I always tried my best.

I am known for my efforts in other sports as well. In lacrosse last year, the coach gave me the award for the most improved player. He spoke about how I always get right up when I am knocked down, which happened more often than I would like to remember. He also mentioned that I am always smiling, no matter what.

However, I must admit, that when I biked home after I cut my leg, I wasn’t smiling. I also wasn’t smiling in the emergency room when I had to get 21 stitches or when I hobbled out of there on crutches, realizing that my bar mitzvah was just a month away. My mom tried smiling for my benefit but it wasn’t the best day I have had.

In studying for my bar mitzvah, there were moments when it felt like I could not it. But with encouragement from many people, I kept working at it and here I am today. No stitches, no crutches.

No problem.

I know that there are many people who face many difficult challenges every day. As another part of my mitzvah project, I will be donating money to the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, to help cover the cost of training these guide dogs. A guide dog will allow people to achieve independence, so that they, too, can have a new beginning!

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