We just finished one of those whimsical, yet foundational weekends that you read about in all the novels.
This was our 4th born's Bat Mitzvah. A tradition that goes back to the ages.
I've had some friends asking what this is and why we choose to make this a part of our lives.
I am no theologian nor do I want to be, but I will share with you why we make this celebration a part of our children's lives.
Have you ever participated in an event that transcends time? An event that takes you back and propels you forward all at the same time?
That is kind of what this is like for us.
There are a lot of ways to celebrate milestones in your children's lives. We do it by taking pictures, having birthday parties, commencements, keeping journals, etc. These are all traditions we use to mark important times in our lives. Traditions are ways to create memories, to bring togetherness within families and to mark an important life event.
A Bat/Bar Mitzvah is simply a tradition that dates back to ancient days. It's a celebration of a young woman or young man who has chosen, by their own will, to make the God of their father their God. The name Bat mean "daughter", Mitzvah means "good deed or commandment". So to be a Bat Mitzvah it means to be a "Daughter of the Commandments." We find great significance in this as we find that in our society we become a disciple of what ever we seek. We desire that our children become disciples of the Most High.
We have 5 children that we are bringing up in the admonition of the Lord. Our desire is to train them in the way THEY should go so that in the end they will not depart from it. It's life long training. It's not convenient, but it's purposeful. It's tedious and full of unpredictability. It's taxing and exhilarating all at the same time. Like trying to get a kite to stay in flight when the air is turbulent. Sometimes it's high flying, sometimes it comes crashing down. But no matter what we always have a hold of the kite string and can guide it through the shifting air if we hold it at just the right length.
As our children navigate through their childhood we strive to teach them to fear God and keep His commands. John 14:21 We do this by our teaching and conversation with them as well as modeling it before them. As we know more is caught than taught.
As the years pass by we teach them from the Word. One of the things we like to do is to look up their Torah portion. That is a portion of scripture from the first 5 books of the Bible that corresponds to their birthdate. We believe that this portion has significant meaning for their lives. We have found that everyone of the Torah portions for our children has had a specific message for them. The theme of each of their portions has always described what they have had to work through in their childhood and where they may have to continue to pursue the Father for their future. We talk about these passages throughout their childhood. They come to us when they are ready to take on the responsibility for their own walk with God. It's at that time that we discuss them publicly proclaiming their faith.
When that time comes we set aside a four day event. We host friends and family in our home for a few days for time to encourage that young person. We hold a ring ceremony where they are given a purity ring to where on their right hand. They choose an inscription in Hebrew that they believe will be a reminder of their covenant with the Father. There's nothing magical about the ring, it simply signifies that they have made a covenant and it's their to remind them so. Similar to the covenant we make with our spouse and therefore wear a ring to signify that covenant.
Then we embark on an incredible community filled celebration. That young person will spend a year reading and learning intensely from their portion and they will deliver an explanation to the community of what the portion means to them and how they will walk our their understanding. Then my husband will spend some time sharing about that young person and how life has taught all of us it's lessons. Each young person has a list of friends and family that they wish to speak over them. These are people that have had influence in their lives. We spend time hearing what our friends and siblings have to impart to them and then their Grandparents speak a blessing over them. My husband and I speak our blessings over them as well. It's a special time of imparting God's wisdom and blessing to them.
We commence with a video from their life. We then share a community meal and some fellowship and fun.
My two girls have wanted to have square dancing to finish the night off.
This tradition has been beautiful and meaningful in our lives.