Today I went to see my girlfriends oldest son do his Bar Mitzvah. It was a looooooooooooooong service. 4 hours to be exact. 4 hours in Hebrew to be even more exact. They can never complain on my do-not-blink-or-you-will-miss-it Methodist baptisms or confirmations. We figured we had to have about two more kids to get one up on them in hours. And they still have two more children coming up soon! But it was still worth it.
As I sat there watching him read the Torah I think back to the day, like it was yesterday, when I held him just hours after his birth. When we sat with the new parents while they welcomed him home. Talked about 1st tooth, 1st time he walked, 1st day of school. So many firsts. And, like my own children, all done in the blink of an eye. Joshua is now a man. A young boy of body but starting out in the world as a man in spirit with new beginnings on the horizon. Strong in spirit, body, mind and faith.
I sat there listening, not having a clue what the child was saying but crying all the same. It was beautiful. It was another memory to tuck away. And I was as proud of him as anyone else sitting there in the synagogue. I just had to struggle more to read and keep up that is all!
My favorite part was the throwing of the candy during the Haftorah reading. Joshua obviously knew what was coming. The throwing of candy so 'symbolizing the hope that he may always be surrounded by the sweetness of the words and good deeds of the Torah'. Joshua read on while candy was being passed among his friends in the pews. You could hear the giggles. The crunch of the paper wrappers. The whispers. And as the moment came closer you could see the joyful panic in Joshua's eyes as he looked from his reading and up at his friends and back down again. And when the end came he spoke faster with a grin and ducked as fast as he could behind the podium. Not fast enough for he was pelted with candy over and over. And just in case someone thought they missed him, they came flooding up on the alter to pick up the strewn pieces and throw them again. It took the Rabi to chase the crew away among laughter and giggles. The fun and sometimes painful passing of a boy into manhood. Literally.
But Joshua obviously worked hard. And passed with flying colors. And, as far as my english speaking self felt, did a perfect reading!
His journey is just beginning. May the Lord be with him and guide him on his way. Never to be alone. Stand strong Joshua. Stand proud. And next time.........get gummy bears!