These are the words of blessing I shared with my daughter, DovLev, as she became a Bat Mitzvah! I’m so proud of her and grateful for all of her blessings.
You made it very clear to me that I was not to “wing” this blessing for you. True, there are so many moments in a service that inspire me to speak to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah when we are at the ark. But today, this moment, I speak to you not as a rabbi, but today, I speak to you in the most important role I have…I speak to you, my daughter, as your Ima.
And, while I want to share each moment, from the time you were born, and when we welcomed you to our family, our covenant and this community to every amazing moment we’ve shared, and even some of the challenging, I know that there is too much to share now. But I do want you to know, we are so proud of all that you are and everything you do.
In the book of Psalms, Psalm 119, which is the longest of all the chapters, 176 verses to be exact, is written as an acrostic. Each Hebrew letter is represented by 8 versus. There is a tradition of using one’s Hebrew name and writing that person their own personal Psalm. So today, I have written you your own Psalm, carefully choosing verses that I feel reflect you and are words for you to hold on to for the years ahead.
27: Make me understand the way of Your precepts, that I may study Your wondrous acts.
The world around you is so wonderful. Take time to explore it and enjoy it. Lift your eyes up and enjoy all the beauty that exists in this world and how you are a part of it.
14: I rejoice over the way of Your decrees as over all riches
You can strive to achieve greatness in all that you do. Some day you will achieve your goal and become who you dream to be. But always remember, even in greatness, even in glory, the simple things in life are the most precious – these are the things that money cannot buy, but can only be created and appreciated by you and everyone in our world.
76: May Your steadfast love comfort me in accordance with Your promise to Your servant.
Always feel God’s love surrounding you. This love comes in all forms. From the love of Aba and me, the love of your brother, Yoni, who you should remember, you only have one of, so cherish him. To the love of your extended family and your friends. Recognizing this love you are given and seeing that it is a gift that will fulfill the promise God makes to you each and every day.
171: My lips shall pour forth praise, for You teach me Your laws.
Torah has been on your lips from the day your were born. You learned how to chant blessings and bring the love of Torah and your Jewish self into your life very early on. Continue to allow your lips to speak words of blessing and always allow your mind to be open to learning each and every day. Torah is not only the words on the scroll, but the Torah of your heart given to you from one generation to the next.
149: Hear my voice as befits Your steadfast love; O God, preserve me, as is Your rule.
Always allow your voice to speak clearly and be heard. Speak with kindness and compassion for all people. But remember to speak with compassion for yourself. Sometimes it’s easy to be so hard on ourselves, but take the time to not only have your voice heard by others, but also by yourself and be proud of that voice, for it will preserve you, your dreams and your future.
42: I shall have an answer for those who taunt me, for I have put my trust in Your word.
Life is not always equal. There are those who taunt you, those who do not speak with kindness. Allow your answer to them be one in which you remember for yourself – be proud of who you are, what you believe and what you do. Remember to also speak out against injustice: you are a young woman who has no problem speaking her mind. You are a woman who has strong opinions. Allow your voice to ring out and be heard. You are a partner in this world for making it a better place, and that is the trust that has become your inheritance.
37: Avert my eyes from seeing falsehood; by Your ways preserve me.
There are moments that deceive us – moments when we are not so comfortable or moments in which we are unsure. Dahvi, always remember to keep your eyes wide open. Pay attention to everything around you. Learn from that paths you take that may not always be the right one at the moment, because the next path will be true. Each day is an opportunity for your eyes to be open. To see blessings in your life, to see challenges that are to be overcome, and to recognize the beautiful future that lies ahead. Enjoy the journey for it will bring you a life that is filled with blessing and a world in which you will leave your imprint.
Dahvi Tikvah – My Bear, Our Hope – You stand here with your family, your community and the people of Israel, and we could not be prouder of you. For the generations who came before you, who stand around you but you cannot see; for the generations that will come from you, always know that you are a blessing. You are our blessing and you are our hopes and dreams fulfilled. We love you and we are so proud of you!