Blessings for My Daughter

These are the words of blessing I shared with my daughter, DovLev, as she became a Bat Mitzvah! I’m so proud of her and grateful for all of her blessings.

Dahvi,

You made it very clear to me that I was not to “wing” this blessing for you. True, there are so many moments in a service that inspire me to speak to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah when we are at the ark. But today, this moment, I speak to you not as a rabbi, but today, I speak to you in the most important role I have…I speak to you, my daughter, as your Ima.

And, while I want to share each moment, from the time you were born, and when we welcomed you to our family, our covenant and this community to every amazing moment we’ve shared, and even some of the challenging, I know that there is too much to share now. But I do want you to know, we are so proud of all that you are and everything you do.

In the book of Psalms, Psalm 119, which is the longest of all the chapters, 176 verses to be exact, is written as an acrostic. Each Hebrew letter is represented by 8 versus. There is a tradition of using one’s Hebrew name and writing that person their own personal Psalm. So today, I have written you your own Psalm, carefully choosing verses that I feel reflect you and are words for you to hold on to for the years ahead.

Dalet

27: Make me understand the way of Your precepts, that I may study Your wondrous acts.

The world around you is so wonderful. Take time to explore it and enjoy it. Lift your eyes up and enjoy all the beauty that exists in this world and how you are a part of it.

Vet

14: I rejoice over the way of Your decrees as over all riches

You can strive to achieve greatness in all that you do. Some day you will achieve your goal and become who you dream to be. But always remember, even in greatness, even in glory, the simple things in life are the most precious – these are the things that money cannot buy, but can only be created and appreciated by you and everyone in our world.

Yud

76: May Your steadfast love comfort me in accordance with Your promise to Your servant.

Always feel God’s love surrounding you. This love comes in all forms. From the love of Aba and me, the love of your brother, Yoni, who you should remember, you only have one of, so cherish him. To the love of your extended family and your friends. Recognizing this love you are given and seeing that it is a gift that will fulfill the promise God makes to you each and every day.

Tav

171: My lips shall pour forth praise, for You teach me Your laws.

Torah has been on your lips from the day your were born. You learned how to chant blessings and bring the love of Torah and your Jewish self into your life very early on. Continue to allow your lips to speak words of blessing and always allow your mind to be open to learning each and every day. Torah is not only the words on the scroll, but the Torah of your heart given to you from one generation to the next.

Kuf

149: Hear my voice as befits Your steadfast love; O God, preserve me, as is Your rule.

Always allow your voice to speak clearly and be heard. Speak with kindness and compassion for all people. But remember to speak with compassion for yourself. Sometimes it’s easy to be so hard on ourselves, but take the time to not only have your voice heard by others, but also by yourself and be proud of that voice, for it will preserve you, your dreams and your future.

Vav

42: I shall have an answer for those who taunt me, for I have put my trust in Your word.

Life is not always equal. There are those who taunt you, those who do not speak with kindness. Allow your answer to them be one in which you remember for yourself – be proud of who you are, what you believe and what you do.  Remember to also speak out against injustice: you are a young woman who has no problem speaking her mind. You are a woman who has strong opinions. Allow your voice to ring out and be heard. You are a partner in this world for making it a better place, and that is the trust that has become your inheritance.

Hey

37: Avert my eyes from seeing falsehood; by Your ways preserve me.

There are moments that deceive us – moments when we are not so comfortable or moments in which we are unsure. Dahvi, always remember to keep your eyes wide open. Pay attention to everything around you. Learn from that paths you take that may not always be the right one at the moment, because the next path will be true. Each day is an opportunity for your eyes to be open. To see blessings in your life, to see challenges that are to be overcome, and to recognize the beautiful future that lies ahead. Enjoy the journey for it will bring you a life that is filled with blessing and a world in which you will leave your imprint.

Dahvi Tikvah – My Bear, Our Hope – You stand here with your family, your community and the people of Israel, and we could not be prouder of you. For the generations who came before you, who stand around you but you cannot see; for the generations that will come from you, always know that you are a blessing. You are our blessing and you are our hopes and dreams fulfilled. We love you and we are so proud of you!

 

#BlogExodus – That Which Plagues Us

I love this year’s Exodus Internet project, #BlogExodus, found on Twitter. And this year, #ImaBima has challenged regular and occasional bloggers to post on a new topic each day as we prepare for Passover. While I was excited to engage in this project, the past few days have passed me by without being able to post on the daily topic. I have been plagued with a busy schedule preventing me from being able to spend time reflecting and writing.

All of us have our plagues in life. We are plagued by too many commitments; plagued by having to juggle not only our own schedules but also the schedules of our family – children or elderly parents. We are plagued with health issues; plagued by not having time for ourselves; we are plagued by unfulfilled goals; plagued by demands placed on us by others. We are plagued by not being in touch with our emotions; plagued by not realizing our passions; plagued by not knowing how to act on our passions; plagued by someone else fulfilling our visions when we did not have the courage to do so ourselves.

And while each of these ten plagues and so many others that go unnamed, and seem to darken our world, we are challenged to recognize them, name them and then learn how to walk through them.

Do these plagues control our lives or are we able to gain control of them, stripping each one down to its basic core and recognizing how we might shed it’s control over our lives? A plague can destroy us or it can strengthen us as we remove it from controlling each moment.

Our magid, retelling of the story of Passover, is not just to remind us of our history and our passage to freedom thousands of years ago. Our magid is our opportunity to tell our story today, recognize that which plagues us and then free ourselves from that which enslaves us.

What are your plagues and how will you move from the darkness that envelops you so that you may join the march toward freedom and light? May this Passover season be one that brings all of us to a new freedom and an embrace of the light of redemption that’s just within reach.