Friday, May 28, 2010

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Sydney Katz on Naso

Imagine not having your computer for four whole days! And then, when the computer finally comes back… no internet! Could anything possibly we WORSE???

YES. No cable! No TV at all!

And worst of mall….no cell phone to text your friends! And then, on top of that, imagine having all your food go bad with the refrigerator not working.

Well, all this is not simply something that I imagined. It actually happened - to me – and many others – a few months ago….

Some of you may recall that we had a pretty big storm last March. Pretty big, is an understatement. Remember all the trees that fell, all the wires, the blocked streets, the wind the rain? If you don’t recall it, maybe when you have to go to school until the end of June, you’ll remember why.

Not only did we lose power, but several trees fell down in my neighborhood. Some friends had trees fall in their yards, very near their houses. In some cases, ON the house. There were also some live wires that came down almost touching the ground, right around the corner to my

Despite all this, I felt lucky. I still had my house, where many others suffered real damage from wind, trees and flooding. I still had my family. Everyone was safe. And I still had all my electronic gadgets! I had them… they just weren’t working.

But they are now!

My portion contains the famous blessings recited by the priests in ancient times. These three blessings remind us how important it is for all of us to count our blessings.

In fact, Jews traditionally recite up to 100 blessings every day. As we learn in that famous Jewish play, “Fiddler on the Roof,” there is a blessing for everything. Not just for the Czar, for food, for wearing something new or for seeing a flower bloom. Just like apps, there’s a blessing
for everything.

In fact, I’ve written a few new ones of my own.

Here’s a blessing recited by my cats: Blessed are You Lord our God, for providing us with all the scratching posts we need, especially the one named Sydney.

Here’s a blessing for the last day of Hebrew school: Blessed are You, Lord our God, who has given us the chance to learn about being Jewish with Mrs. Hammerman, who is an excellent teacher and just had birthday two days ago.

Here’s a blessing for my family. Blessed are You, Lord our God, for giving me parents and a sister who have loved me for 13 years, even though I can be difficult at times.

Because of the blackout, it is easier for me to count my blessings. I can appreciate what I have much more.

The blackout has also helped me to begin to appreciate what the people in Haiti are going through. Of course their situation is much worse. Their power never went back on, because for many, their homes were destroyed. Many also lost close relatives and friends.

And yet despite this, the people of Haiti are known for how much faith they have, for their ability to count their blessings. When the quake happened, I was sick at the time and felt very lucky to have good medical care. Then I heard amazing stories of how people would be rescued from the rubble after many days and come out praising God and singing. It was as if they thought THEY were lucky.

I’ve learned from all this, that, if you look at the big picture, things for us are never as bad as they seem. If we stop to say a blessing, we’ll feel blessed – and very lucky.

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