Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Samantha Laichtman on Hayye Sarah

Shabbat Shalom!
Thank you all for joining me here today! Whether you came from near or far, your love and support means so much to me and my family. 
I have been very fortunate to spend my last four summers at a sleepaway camp in New Hampshire called Walt Whitman.  It has become my home away from home.  
At camp, we spend a lot of time hiking.  This past summer my bunk went on a challenging hike. We went up the highest mountain in the North East, Mt. Washington. On the first day, we started out by hiking along the Southern Presidentials trail and did 5 miles.
The second day we did nine miles and that was the day we climbed to the top of Mount Washington. We were so happy we got to the top! We did it! After we hung out on top for a bit it was eventually time for us to start hiking down.   On our way down it suddenly began to hail.  We were panicking as our leader called the camp.
The thunder was scary and the hail was painful, banging against our legs. The hail felt like prickly thorns as it hit us.
Thank god for rain pants!
We all got so scared that we almost had to be evacuated off the mountain and taken back to camp, not even making it to the third day of our hike. Thankfully, we found a rock nearby with a section of it jutting out over our heads.  We all fit underneath and stayed safe and dry.
The storm stopped after about 15 minutes that afternoon. When it did, I looked up, and from out of nowhere we all saw the most beautiful thing. A double rainbow.
It was so pretty with all of its vibrant colors shooting through the sky. We were absolutely amazed at what we saw. It was one thing for the storm to clear up. But a double rainbow, this was way beyond that!
As we moved on with the hike I realized that without the storm there would never have been a double rainbow.
This taught me that in order to appreciate the good things in life, you may have to experience the bad. My Torah Portion is called “Chaye Sarah,” “Lives of Sarah,” except that Sarah dies at the very beginning. So why is it called “lives” when it talks about death?
Not only does a death occur at the beginning of the portion, but at the end, Abraham dies too.  However, in the middle of the portion, Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac meets his wife Rebecca. When Isaac sees Rebecca, they fall in love and marry each other. They go to live in Sarah’s tent, and Isaac is comforted. It is as if Sarah gets a new life.  We learn from this that people live on, even after they die. In order for Isaac and Rebecca to be truly happy they had to first experience the sadness of Sarah and Abraham’s deaths.

My Torah Portion also connects to my Mitzvah Project – collecting supplies for the Stamford Animal Control Center. It connects because at first every animal that is taken to the center has to experience the bad, such as being given up by its’ owner or being a stray.  But fortunately, once a dog or cat gets turned into the Stamford Animal Control Center it is cared for and hopefully adopted into a loving home. 

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