Friday, December 18, 2015

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Morgana Knopoff on Ahare/Kedoshim

Shabbat Shalom!
Although I’ve been told I have many talents, there is one small area where I fall a little short… (And it’s not my height!!!)
…I am a procrastinator.
Yes, it’s true. 
For example – how do you think I did on the haftarah? 
Well….I winged it.
This speech? 
Wrote it yesterday
My dress?  Also yesterday
My hair?
I woke up like this.
It sometimes drives others crazy.  Like my parents, for instance. 
My portion has something to teach us about procrastination.  It says, “The wages of a laborer shall not remain with you until morning.”
The Torah is teaching us not to procrastinate, because when we do, it doesn’t just affect us, it affects everybody else too. 
The sage Hillel said, “If not now, when.”  And I usually say, “If not now, later!”  But I can understand where Hillel was coming from.
Jewish tradition teaches that time should be highly valued, and Judaism sees laziness or procrastination, as wasting time.  Just like we shouldn’t waste water by leaving the faucet on, we should be careful not to let time go down the drain.
My bat mitzvah preparations have helped me to learn how to not leave things to the last minute all the time.  And I’m sure the cantor and my other teachers would agree!
I’ve also learned from swimming.  As a competitive swimmer for the past several years, I’ve learned that when the official says, “take your mark,” you’ve got to be ready to listen and then to take action as soon as the official says “go.”   Just walking into cold water in the pool is good training – and the Westhill pool is freezing cold.  As result of this training, my times have improved dramatically over the past three years. 
Now that I am a Bat Mitzvah, I hope to set an example for others who just have trouble getting started.
For one thing, I’ve been making a real effort to wake up on time and get ready for school.   And when I get home, I won’t wait until the last minute to do my homework.  At least I could try… and it’s the effort that counts!
And, just as my Torah portion states, if anyone is counting on me for whatever reason, I’ll make sure to be there for them – on time.
                For my mitzvah project I created a website for people to donate and learn about the Israeli Guide Dog Center for the Blind. The Israel Guide dog Center for the Blind enables blind and visually impaired Israelis to achieve independence , mobility, and self esteem through working partnerships with guide dogs. The guide dogs and services are provided free of charge. The total cost is approximately $25,000.  I’m hoping to raise $1,000 which is the cost to sponsor a puppy. I’m getting closer to achieve my goal and won’t stop until I do.

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