L'Dor V'Dor - Keeping Healthy Before The Bar Mitzvah | MitzvahMarket | MitzvahMarket

L’Dor V’Dor – Keeping Healthy Before The Bar Mitzvah

L’Dor V’Dor – Keeping Healthy Before The Bar Mitzvah

I recently went for a walk with my dad, and we started discussing my daughter’s displeasure with my desire to wrap her in bubble wrap for the week before her Bat Mitzvah.

We are living in a post(?), current(?), continuous(?) pandemic world right now, where nobody knows when the next virus variant or strain will hit us hard. Not to mention flu, RSV, LMNOP, or whatever impending weirdly named illness is next knocking at our doors. Monkeypox anyone?

However, having nothing to do with the world we are living in TODAY, my little Mitzvah girl is also recovering from a broken ankle and the rules that I’m putting in place (like not reactivating the injury so she can dance at her OWN Bat Mitzvah, and walk around on our Israel trip) are making her very unhappy.

I mean, is it unreasonable that if she wants to attend a good friend’s Mitzvah the week before hers, I insist that she’s strapped to a chair, double-masked, with a pool noodle on her head for a six-foot social distancing visual? You tell me. Perhaps I can get one of those single-person enclosed sports bubble tents and pop that on top of her as well? I guess in theory I could… but people may start talking…

So the question is – WHAT DO YOU DO? Sigh… stress level at DEFCON ten.

Well – as I’m sure you know, after a year of meticulously planning a Mitzvah, it’s so hard to weigh the odds and decide what to do the week before to keep your family healthy. To keep that little darling pubescent voice ready for all the tropes and chants of their imminent Torah portion. But then once you start, how far before your event do you go? Two weeks? A month? What’s the magic number to get you to your party? Do you apply the same rules to close friends? Camp friends? Friends from school, with the assumption they’re already sharing the same germs daily? Everyone’s nerves are swirling, and the truth is – no one knows the right answer.

But it seems this push-and-pull pre-Mitzvah angst between parent and child has been going on since the dawn of Mitzvahs. While researching, I found that Abraham and Sarah in fact told Isaac the week before his Bar Mitzvah he was not allowed to – ok, I’m joking, but I bet they would have said something to him if Mitzvahs existed back then. However, while I can’t date this theory back to biblical times, I can date it back to the Mrs. Maisel era.

Thus, bringing us back to my walk with my Dad.

My dad is a man with few memories of his childhood so when he pulls one out of left field (pun intended… wait for it), it’s even more meaningful to me.

So, as we were chatting about this most recent topic for which my daughter was unhappy with me, he paused, and I felt like he was about to say “Picture it… Brooklyn, 1962…”

My father – a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn – is a lifelong Brooklyn Dodgers fan. Now, if you were a nice Jewish boy back then there was no one more important or exciting to you than Sandy Koufax. Because the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, when they returned to New York to play, it was a big deal. My Dad had tickets to this game – in fact a doubleheader – on May 30th, 1962, and to top it off Sandy Koufax was pitching.

But (you know where this is going) it was exactly one week before his Bar Mitzvah, and his parents wouldn’t let him go. They were concerned he would yell so loudly at the game that he would lose his voice and not be able to chant the Torah.

I felt my father’s pain as he told me this story – still so raw – sixty-one years later. I thought this was such an amazing story – one, because I’d never heard it before; and two, because it made me laugh that even in 1962, Jewish mothers didn’t want their kids to do anything the week before their Mitzvahs either.

L’Dor V’Dor- from generation to generation.

This story from six decades ago gave me some perspective (and let’s be honest, made me feel a little better) that the desire to get your child to their own Mitzvah is a tale as old as time. Whatever we’re currently dealing with – a pandemic, a sporting event, or even, dare I say, a Taylor Swift concert, no one wants their child to miss their Mitzvah because of something they did the week before. Furthermore, much like the Torah being a front and center part of their big day, Jewish (overbearing parent) continuity is there as well.

My takeaway message from this conversation was while yes, my daughter may still be upset with me in sixty-one years, she may also understand by then why I put her Mitzvah first. Because now my Dad is on my side and says strap her to that chair.

But even better – hopefully one day she and I will take a walk and she will tell me her child is one week out from their Mitzvah and she refuses to let them go on a flying car ride… or whatever kids will be doing in the 2050s.

Stacey Wallenstein is the founder of the parenting & lifestyle blog The Mint Chip Mama. Visit her website at themintchipmama.com and find her across all socials at @themintchipmama


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