Sunday, June 17, 2012

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Alexa Karp on Beha'alotcha

Shabbat Shalom!
 Human beings like to complain, whether it’s about the economy, the weather, or homework, it’s just something people do. In my case, it was Bat Mitzvah training. During the first couple of months of studying, I did not work to my full potential, and I constantly complained about having to go to lessons.  My Torah portion, Behaalotcha, is jam packed with life lessons. One section explains how the Jewish people soon after leaving Mount Sinai, and journeying to the wilderness, began to complain or as Jewish people would say “kvetch”. The people were unhappy with the Manna which was the daily bread they got from Heaven. God sent a massive flock of quail which the people gathered to eat. Those who had complained about the manna ended up stuffing themselves to death. Instead of actually eating what they needed and being satisfied with what they were given, they chose to complain and suffer the consequences.  The lesson I have taken away from my Torah portion is about concentrating on the positives in every situation.  This relates back to my initial lack of interest in my Bat Mitzvah studies. In the first couple of months, I got away with slacking. About 4 months ago, I realized it was time to stop complaining and start studying. My attitude completely changed because I knew it had to get done and I was the only one who could do it. The more positive I felt, and the less complaining I did, the better my training went. I hope to take my positive outlook and apply it to other hurdles in my life.

For my Mitzvah project, I chose to work with an organization called “ Tails Of Courage”. Tails of courage  is a non-profit animal shelter which specializes in fostering and adopting dogs that need a home. They take dogs out of harmful or abusive situations. I volunteered my time helping out at the adoption events. At one of the events I fell in love with a puppy named PAWL. Spelled P-A-W-L. Although I already have two dogs at home, it wasn’t enough for me just like the Jewish people and the mana. My parents wouldn’t let me bring home another dog but I tried to look on the positive side. Thankfully, Pawl got adopted. I realized the people who adopted him could give him more love and attention then I could. Looking at the positives of a situation is a much more enjoyable way to experience life.

Today is an important milestone for my family. 6 years ago on this weekend, my sister Samantha, had her Bat Mitzvah at this temple and 40 years ago my dad had his Bar Mitzvah. I am the sixth and final cousin of my generation to become a bar or bat mitzvah here, keeping up a long standing Beth El and Karp Family Tradition.      

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