Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary; Micayla Roth on Lech Lecha

Shabbat Shalom!

I have this crazy thing…. I always wear mismatched socks.

I have no idea how it started. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Whenever the laundry is done, and the socks come out, I mismatch them.  

Most of my friends know about this. On crazy socks day, when everyone else is wearing mismatching socks, I’ll wear matching socks, inside out.

I’m not sure why I do it, it’s just something I’ve done every day - a ritual, like lighting Chanukah candles or saying the Sh’ma.  When you do something over and over, it becomes a part of you.

I’ve learned some things about myself from this ritual.  For one thing, I always plan ahead about what I’m going to wear on my feet. The other thing is that it helps me to think more out of the box.  Or should I say, “out of the socks.”  It’s important not to be afraid to be different, and not to worry too much about what others may think of me.

It’s very similar to what happened with Avraham and Sarah.  They were not afraid to be different – Avraham didn’t believe in idols  like his father did.  And they were not afraid to do something bold and unique,  maybe a little bit crazy.  They listened to a God they had never heard before and followed the call to leave their home for a new land they had never seen before. That’s even crazier than mismatching socks.  A lot crazier – but not in a bad way!

God’s command to Avraham was to “Lech lecha” which means to leave.  But the second word, Lecha, means “to yourself.”  So it was not just a commandment to leave – but to “go to yourself.” This means that when you think out of the box – when you leave your comfort zone and go to a new place, you discover new things about yourself.  That’s what Avraham and Sarah did.

Every summer, when I go to camp, it helps me to learn more about myself, and that helps me to grow. In a similar way, my Bat Mitzvah journey has taken me from my comfort zone and helped me to grow a lot.
My Mitzvah project has been to help Camp Oasis, a nationwide camp program for kids with Crohn’s and colitis – which I’m doing in honor of my Aunt Ali and Cousin Ryan. 

 I made and sold rainbow loom bracelets at Carmel Academy’s Chesed Day, I raised money in a walk-a-thon and I also visited one of the camps. That really took me out of my comfort zone. I was worried that it might feel awkward for the campers that they were hearing that I was donating to them. But they were so welcoming and they kept thanking me – it felt really good.  I’m also proud to share that I’ve raised over $4600 for Camp Oasis--that amount can send over 15 kids to camp on a full scholarship!  

One more thing about Avraham and Sarah.  They weren’t always called Avraham and Sarah.  Not only did they change their location, they also changed their names, from Avram and Sarai.  That enabled them to have a fresh start, with a newly discovered God, a new people and a new faith.

It’s ironic that when I was younger, every year on my birthday, I would come up with a new nickname that rhymed with my name, like Ayla, Cayla, and even Shayla and Layla! Eventually, though, I ran out of nicknames. Oh, and by the way, don’t call me Micki! 

So in a way, all my life I’ve been looking up to Avraham and Sarah, without even knowing it.  As I become a bat mitzvah, I understand that a very important part of being a Jew is to be able to think out of the box – with or without socks!

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