Monday, November 3, 2014

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commenatary: Ashley Shapiro on Vayera

Shabbat Shalom!

As most of you are aware, I love skiing.  I’ve been skiing since I started walking.  I know every inch of Mount Snow.   Not only do I love to ski, but I also love the fact that on our ski weekends I get to spend a lot of time with my family.

So it’s natural that when I was thinking of the lessons I learn from my Torah portion, my thoughts turned to skiing.

When you are going down the mountain, a lot of trails give you a choice.  About half way down, you can either turn off and take a shortcut to the bottom.  The short cut may not be much shorter, but it’s definitely easier.  Or, if you want to be a little braver, you can stay on the main trail.  I almost always stay on the main trail. 

Why do I make that choice to take the harder trail?   Two reasons: 1) when you get to the bottom you feel a sense of accomplishment.  And 2) because, when the trail is really challenging, my mom takes me to the candy store.  But of course, it’s the sense of accomplishment that matters the most.

My portion also teaches that life has no short cuts, especially when it comes to founding a new faith.  Abraham had to pass ten tests.  Some of them were as difficult as any test could ever be. 

For example, when Abraham heard that God was planning to destroy the people of Sodom, the easy thing for Abraham to do would have been just to cut the chase and ask that his nephew Lot’s family be saved.  He could have just not cared about the others.  But he takes the long and more difficult way, arguing that city be saved for the sake of 50 righteous people.  Then, when there weren’t 50, he asked for 40, then 30 and finally asked that the city be saved for the sake of 10.

I didn’t need ten tests like Abraham, but preparing for this bat mitzvah hasn’t always been the easiest.  But I’ve also learned that there are no shortcuts when preparing for my Bat Mitzvah – or for anything else.

I can recall my first show at Bi Cultural – Seussical.  It took me forever to pick up dance moves to a certain song.  It was frustrating, but when I got it, it felt great. 

I’m known for being a really fast reader.  But even when I read fast, I need to make sure I’m understanding what I’m reading.  I do that by telling my parents and brother about the books nonstop, even long after they’ve tuned me out.  J 

My mitzvah project definitively had no short cuts.   I emailed my friends and family inviting them to walk or donate for the FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) Walk that was held in September.  When people started to join and donate, I made sure I sent a thank you email to each of them.  Fifty people walked and many others donated, and I raised $8,000. 

It’s really important to me, because I’ve had food allergies since I was 18 months old and it’s really hard for me to go places and eat at restaurants sometimes, because people often don’t know what’s in the food.  For me, when I go out, there’s been a short cut in ordering a meal. I usually do the ordering myself – and I have to ask the waiter if the food has any of my allergens in it.  Most of the time they don’t know.  We then have to find the manager or chef and ask them. This has helped me to become a more responsible and patient person.

I know that in life there are no short cuts, but that doesn’t mean I have to keep on talking now, even though I would love to!   So I’m going to wrap this up with some special thank you’s…

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