Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Molly Herckis on Hayye Sarah

As I said at the beginning, my portion is named, “Lives of Sarah,” even though Sarah dies at the beginning. I’ve come to see how Sarah lived on through women like Rebecca, Isabel, and GG, and everyone who has come after. Now that I am a bat mitzvah, I’m proud to take my place in that long line of great Jewish women.

Aside from my great grandmothers and grandmothers, there’s one strong woman who has been a real role model for me – my mom. While working full time, she’s also worked day and night trying to make my bat mitzvah special, and she definitely succeeded. I’m so grateful to have such a great relationship with her.

Before I do anything else, I’d like to introduce you to two very special people who are here today. I’m so lucky to have at my bat mitzvah 2 of my great grandmothers. First my great grandma Isabel – could you stand up? I’m always amazed at how independent she is always there to celebrate every holiday with my family.

Besides the fact that she went above and beyond, Rebecca, like Sarah before her, showed kindness, even to strangers, including animals, along with the ability to make courageous, life changing, decisions. Both she and Sarah had to leave their birthplace and headed out into the unknown.

But, I know that the best way to pay it forward is to become the same kind of role model for younger girls. I have lots of younger cousins who I know are looking up to me today. In a couple of years, I’ll become a big sister at Camp Tevya to a few girls in younger bunks.

For example, the main story in this portion describes the search for a wife for Isaac. Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, goes to find this women, and comes back with Rebecca. He knows that she’s the one because she not only offers him water from the well, but she offers water for his camels, too. Rebecca was willing to go above and beyond what might have been expected from her. That’s a sign of true leadership.

Last but not least, my great grandma Carol – or GG as I call her. She lives in Atlanta and belongs to the Temple…that’s right, it’s just called, “the Temple,” and it’s one of the most famous synagogues in the country.

Led by these two, I come from a family of strong matriarchs and great female role models.

One way I can set an example is through my mitzvah project. I’m going to be volunteering at the Lower Fairfield County Food Bank with family and friends, where I will be helping stock shelves and deliver food. I also recently had a bake sale at school to raise money for the food bank.
Shabbat shalom!

Speaking of strong matriarchs and great female role models, that’s what my Torah portion is all about. In fact, this portion is the first one named for women. It’s called, “Haye Sarah,” or, “Sarah’s Lives.” It’s almost as if the Torah is teaching us that women are meant to play a strong role in all of our lives. Although Sarah dies at the beginning of the portion, she lives on in many different ways.

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