She did it.
And it was spectacular.
I cannot begin to tell you all the wonderfulness that happened this weekend, but as soon as I find the words, I will.
Until then, these are the words I said to Leah on the pulpit before she read from the Torah for the first time. Some of it was taken from things written here, because I think I was working out what to say to her without knowing it. The rest arrived on the page at the right time. It was written in one draft.
The other day you and I were talking about this whole bat mitzvah preparation thing. You had seen some of the new kids just starting their training, seven months out, and remarked how terrified everyone looked – and wondered if that was how YOU looked.
Yes, it most certainly was.
Seven months ago you were overwhelmed. Frightened. Had no idea how there was any way on G-d’s green earth you were going to be standing here today. READY to be standing here today. But here you are. (Told ya.)
It was hard. Then it was still hard. You wondered if it would always be hard. But, then it got easier – and easier still. Then one day, not too long ago, it got fun. The past few weeks it got really fun. You could see the journey and the finish line and, in just a minute, for all intents and purposes, you’re going to cross it.
That is the lesson. The journey. The trust you need in yourself and others to do hard things. Because you can do hard things.
Leah, you are bright and beautiful and smart and funny and loving – and all of those things will serve you well on whatever journey lies ahead. Choose people who root for you, who make you better, and along the way root for people, too. You and I do a lot of laughing in our house – because as long as you can laugh about something, anything is possible. So, bring laughter with you – teach others its power.
Sometimes the road will feel broken, but it is no less blessed because of it. Daddy and I will walk with you, regardless. And one day, when you’re ready, you will step, and your own path will appear. I can’t wait to see what happens then.
There is a song that has been a part of almost every major event in our lives – “l’chi lach”. It comes from the story of G-d telling Abraham to leave his father’s land and journey to Israel. The lyrics go “on your journey I will bless you” and “you shall be a blessing.”
Leah, we are so very proud of you today – and every day. Today, you are blessed. Today, and every day, you are a blessing.
I love you.