My name is Eliana Rose Nadel and I am very lucky to be here today, on my Bat-Mitzvah, teaching my Torah portion called Lech Lecha.
The actual section that I chanted in my torah portion today is about Circumcision, but I don’t think people would like to listen to a speech with such a painful subject matter.
Lech Lecha, when translated means to “go forth.” This is exactly what Abraham and Sarah had to do by going forth into a completely strange and new land where G-d tells them to go. Sarah and Abraham, a couple from Mesopotamia, set out on a journey to Canaan, which is present-day Israel. Along the way, they confront numerous challenges. They experienced famine, conflicts with neighbors, and with their own family. Be it as it may, their unflinching confidence and faith in G-d kept them going. In spite of the challenges, Sarah and Abraham remained immovable in their conviction to follow through on G-d’s divine mission. They trusted in G-d's guarantee that G-d would favor them and make them the founders of an incredible nation.
There are several key themes in Lech Lecha that are important. These include Journey and faith as I just discussed and it also discusses acts of hospitality and kindness. For example,. When Abraham was on his way to Canaan, his nephew Lot was in danger when captured in a war. Abraham took it upon himself to free his nephew from his captors. G-d showed kindness to Abraham for having faith in the difficult journey to the new land, by making him the future king of all nations, known today as Israel. G-D also rewarded Abraham and Sarah with kindness and compassion as both Sarah and Abraham were quite old and were unable to bear children, and G-D gave Abraham and Sarah the ability to conceive Isaac. The examples teach us the importance of treating others with kindness, compassion, and generosity.
I can relate to the theme of new journeys and facing challenges, as I have had many new journeys in my lifetime. Going from Japanese school to my new school, Whitby, was definitely both challenging and rewarding at the same time. It is often difficult for me to take myself out of my own comfort zone, but changing schools ended up granting me new learning and friendship opportunities. Additionally, as I already stated, the parsha emphasizes the significance of hospitality and kindness- This serves as a reminder for us to show compassion and openness towards others. I can relate to this theme, because I try my best to help people in my life, and make sure that they feel well treated. I have seen others not be treated kindly and I strive my best to make sure everyone feels welcomed and included. This is why kindness from the Torah portion resonates with me.
In fact, kindness is why I chose my current Bat Mitzvah project. It was important for me to help animals in need. . When I was in Israel this year, I couldn’t help but notice the number of stray cats and dogs on the road in the brutal heat scrounging for food. Unfortunately, stray animals are a universal problem. To help decrease the number of Stray animals, I chose a pet drive for the Connecticut Humane Society which helps abandoned animals in need. Thank you for contributing to this drive.
I also pray for more kindness, love, understanding, compassion, and especially long-term peace in the Middle East and throughout the world.