Friday, March 31, 2017

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Noa Brudny on Vayikra

Shabbat Shalom!
Those of you who know me know that I love girl scouts. I can remember my first meeting, in the middle of second grade.  I didn’t know anyone, but the other girls came over to me and were really welcoming.  From then on I’ve always loved it.  I especially love the camping, the campfires, the s‘mores, the hiking and of course the friendship. 
Girl Scouts takes some of the messiness of life and gives it order.  Everyone wears something similar, dresses neatly, and there is a routine that we try to follow.  It’s predictable and that’s comforting.
My portion – and the entire book of Leviticus, which we begin today – are all about ritual, and how our ancestors tried to bring order into the messiness of life. In the days of the temple, described in Vayikra, they also had campfires – only they called them sacrifices.  In reality, they were big barbecues, and everyone came together to affirm what’s important to them.
After the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, sacrifices were replaced by another ritual, prayer.  Prayers also teach us our values. 
At Girl Scout camp, we have rituals that aren’t all that different from the kinds of services we do here. We start every morning with “flag” – we raise the flag, recite the pledge of allegiance, and that is followed by the Girl Scout Promise, which makes reference to the Girl Scout Law.  Here is the Girl Scout Law:
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.
            In many ways, the Girl Scout Law is similar to Leviticus. In a few chapters, the Torah will teach us to respect our elders, be friendly to those who are different and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
            I also have other kinds of rituals in my life.  On Sundays, around the same time every week, I talk to my grandma and dad when he is in Israel.  But not this weekend, because they’re both here!
            Aside from rituals, both the Torah and Girl Scouts encourage us to be helpful to others. For my mitzvah project, I’m selling homemade, beaded bracelets and donating the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior project.
            I’ll be back later, but for now, here’s Ethan!

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