Wednesday, May 9, 2018

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Nora Amsellem on Emor

My portion of Emor includes a story about what can happen when someone’s emotions get a little out of control. In my Torah portion, two Israelites have an argument, and one gets really angry and swears at the other.

The Torah teaches us that words matter and what we say has consequences.  In this case, the consequences were extremely bad. The person who swore was stoned to death.

If everyone who took God’s name in vain were put to death these days, there would basically be no people left, as many people today use God’s name in vain. But the main message is still important. We should be thoughtful about what we say. The book of Leviticus draws a direct connection about the importance of what goes into our mouths, the Kosher laws, and what comes out. We need to control how we express our feelings and watch our words.

But, if these two Israelites had taken this advice, they wouldn’t have even swore in the first place. Because when I am feeling a little upset, down, or mad, I have a few solutions. First off, instead of losing control of my emotions, like the two Israelites, I like to think things through.  

First I think about what I did wrong, then I think about what I could have done better, and what I will do in the future. Then I think about what the other person has done, and decide how I will approach them next.

The next thing I do when trying to solve an argument is talk to a different person I trust. I do this to get advice from someone other than myself and to hear a different person’s opinion. There could be more than one correct way to do something, you may just have to find the best one. This is an extremely important strategy.

After I have thought things through, its always important to finish solving an argument by addressing it with the person you had it with. Even if it feels like it's not the best thing to do, it always means something to the other person when they see that you want to make up with them. If the Israelites had thought about it like I do, they would have resolved their problem. Instead of swearing at the other person, he could have apologized.

Also, sometimes when I’m upset, I just need to settle down and do something like have a drink of water. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are, and in some parts of the world, people don’t have the opportunity to pour themselves a drink of water.  

In many countries around the world, clean drinking water isn’t available to people and this may be hard for us to understand. But we all do understand that without clean water, you can’t survive.

That is why my mitzvah project is so important.  I chose Charity:Water because this organization brings people in developing countries clean drinking water. I’ve already raised more than my first goal of $1,800. I increased my goal to $2000, which I met over 3 weeks ago.  

At that point I decided to increase my fundraising goal to $3,000. I had met my goal over a week ago and fundraising is going strong. The amount of money I raised will provide clean drinking water to over 100 people. I know that people who benefit from our charity are very grateful and that this has helped improve their quality of life. Thank you to everyone has given thus far, and this means a lot to me. If you still haven’t donated you can find my campaign on the Charity:Water website by searching my name.

Water is such a precious resource and so scarce in areas where it is most needed. There have been - and still are - so many conflicts on the lack of clean drinking water, as people cannot survive without it.

So bringing it back to my d’var Torah, one can say that water might be the secret to keeping people happy, safe and make the world more peaceful.

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