Shabbat shalom. Thank you all so much for coming to celebrate my batmitzvah with me today.
It really means a lot that you have travelled from far and near to hear me do my d’var torah.
Shavout is coming up next week, which is the day that we celebrate receiving the Torah. Even though the Torah is 3000 years old, the important life lessons that it teaches are just as relevant in 2018 as when we received it.
Bat mitzvah presents are really lovely. But Bat mitzvah girls have also been given a present directly from Hashem. We have been given the Torah which contains amazing female role models. Role models are important because they are someone you can look up to, who can guide you and inspire you.
But sometimes, we end up respecting people for the wrong reasons. We look at celebrities with their massive cars, silky hair, and beautiful houses, and we view them as our role models.
However, looking up to their wealth and talents just makes you want what they have, and doesn’t actually make you a better person, or help you live your life in a better way.
On the other hand, the female role models I have learnt about in the Torah didn’t inspire me because they have a big house or a sports car. They inspired me because of their character traits, and the inspiring way that they lived their lives.
Now that I’m bat mitzvah, I want to try and follow the amazing example that they have set. Today Ill share with you just a few life lessons that I have learnt from the women in the Torah.
The first woman that I want to talk about is Sarah. The life lesson that Sara taught me, was to make sure I use every situation to grow and become a better person, no matter what the situation may be. Rashi says that all of Sara’s life was equally good. However, how could all of her life be equally good? She went through such hard times such as
being kidnapped twice by two different kings
and waiting 90 years just to have a baby boy.
The answer is, that even though she had her ups and downs she used every situation to become a better person. No matter what we are going through in life, we can always use every moment to learn from and become a better person.
The next woman that I learnt from was Rivkah. The lesson that Rivkah taught me, was that I should look for opportunities to help other people even before we’re asked. In Rivkah’s story, Eliezer was sent to find a wife for Yitzchak Avraham’s son.
The wife would have to be amazing because she would help to lead the Jewish people. Eliezer travelled with 10 camels, and came to rest near a well. When Rivkah saw them, she rushed to not only give him water, but also the 10 camels. You have to carry a lot of water to satisfy 10 thirsty camels!
But without even being asked, she did this because she looked for opportunities to be a kind person. When she saw an opportunity she grabbed it. It’s much easier in life to wait until we are asked to do something kind. For example, at school if someone has lost their pen, it’s easier to wait until they ask you to borrow yours. But instead, we should help others before we’re even asked.
The next women who I learnt from is Rachel. Rachel taught me to always think about how other people feel. Yaakov and Rachel wanted to get married. But there was one problem. Her evil father wanted to put her sister under the chuppah instead of Rachel.
Rachel didn’t want to embarrass her sister so she told Leah a secret code that only Rachel and Yaakov knew. Even though Rachel wanted to marry Yaakov so much she cared about Leah’s feelings as well as her own.
In life sometimes we have a hard day, and because of this we do things that we don’t mean, but that could hurt someone else.
From Rachel we learn that no matter what we’re going through, we should think about how other people feel as well.
The final woman I want to talk about is Chana. From Chana I learnt that prayer is something personal between you and Hashem, that should come from your heart.
Chana couldn’t have children and she really wanted a baby. One year she went to daven, and she was speaking silently from her heart, so that she could have a private and emotional connection with Hashem.
She is a role model to me because she taught me that prayer is a personal thing and a special connection with G-d.
Even though at the moment I don’t understand all the words in the siddur I can still say my own prayer in my own words and still have a meaningful relationship with Hashem.
As we approach Shavuot, it’s important to appreciate the valuable life lessons that the Torah teaches us, and what an amazing gift it is. Now that I am batmitzvah I will try and live my life with the inspiration of these 4 amazing women from the Torah.
Before I finish off, I just want to say a couple of thank yous to some special people who are here today.
Firstly, thank you Mummy and Daddy for always supporting me throughout my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today without your constant love and care.
Thank you Madison, for being so patient throughout the past few months while we planned this bat mitzvah.
Thanks for always being so much fun. Thank you to my amazing grandparents who have always been there for me, and are a constant source of support and love.
And thank you all so much for coming to join me at my bat mitzvah today. Good Shabbos.