Tuesday, March 06, 2007

bar mitzva

A Hebrew lesson to start out with:
In Hebrew if you don't know someone (or you do know someone) you should say you do/don't recognize them, otherwise biblical knowledge is implied. The first time I found this out was at a sheva brachos a year ago where I spoke and said I didn't know either the chosson or the kallah and everyone started laughing. But I forgot and said it again.

Our purim fun actually started Wednesday night as we headed down to Jerusalem for a Taanis Esther bar mitzva. The grandson of one of our regular wartime writers, Doc's Wife, was flying in from Toronto with his family to accept his place in Judaism. It is very appropriate and symbolic to accept the yoke of mitzvos in Israel, where God expected us to do those mitzvos. The first time that you say in birchas hamazon (and it counts), "Thank you God for giving our fathers a fine, good and wide land" should be in that fine and good land.

Wednesday evening and Thursday morning we spent with family, and even saw the new baby whose bris was on Purim morning. Thursday afternoon at 2:00 PM the festivities started. 2000 years ago on that day our ancestors in Iran were crying about what Haman wanted to do to us. In reality they were crying over the bais hamikdash, the Jewish Temple that was destroyed by Nevuchadnezar, king of Bavel. We stayed with the program and the same line of thought and went to the place where they are actively working to bring back the bais hamikdash, the Temple Mount Institute. They are hard at work building all of the vessels used in the Temple according to their specs and will actually be kosher for use in the third temple. We saw a number of presentations and heard the explanations of how it all comes together.
After that we headed down to the kotel, the wailing western wall, standing in sorrow with a gold dome over its head. We headed underneath the plaza into the tunnels and heard the story of the wall and walked alongside its entire width. Apparently the reason we are allowed to go up on part of the Temple Mount today is because when Herod enlarged the temple plaza he forgot to perform the holiness ceremony and it was left bereft of holiness (for our benefit). My chavrussa, the boys uncle, gave the tour which was mostly excellent, and some of it just very good.
We had to wait until it was fully dark outside before finishing the fast and we davened maariv at the kotel. As the stars came out, the bar-mitzva boy came of age and he lead the tefilla (probably very well, though it was very hard to hear him).
After a full day of bar-mitzvaing him, it was finally time for the celebration and we headed up to the Cardo for a fun and delicious meal. The boy and his father made a siyum on mesechas megilla (very appropriate for Taanis Esther, I'll be finishing it in a couple days myself). We then donned togas, as is appropriate at the Cardo restaurant, and ate. The Cardo restaurant is a very interesting place where you can dress in costume, eat good food and play with the various ancient Greek accessories lying around. There is a greek helmet and a large (sharp) sword. There were axes and shields...

The children made a spice bag for havdala, they actually beat the ingredients with a wooden stick until they were fine enough, while the adults watched a video presentation on the history of the bais hamikdash.

After all was done we headed back to our northern village, getting in just after midnight. Shabbos is another story as we continued celebrating the bar mitzva. I sold aliyahs in shul, in what seems to have become a custom. I was expecting them to ask someone else because I don't speak the worst Hebrew anymore, but what can you do. They certainly had what to laugh at. Hopefully that will be in another post.

I thought the father's name was very interesting, in Hebrew it means either (according to Babylon) Slow God, Sluggish God, Leisurely God, Laggardly God, Phlegmatic God, ... (and a lot of other interesting possible pronouns.) When I met him, he was very excited to finally meet the Rock of Galilee and I was excited that I actually had a reader I didn't know.
Remember, if any of our readers are planning a simcha in Israel it is appropriate to invite the Rock of Galilee family.

1 comment:

marcel said...

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a bientot