Eliot Stein’s Bar Mitzvah Speech
With the permission of the rabbis, my parents, grandparents and all the people here:
I want to thank you all for coming here this morning. When my parents told me that we would be going to Israel for my Bar Mitzvah, I was very excited. I was excited to finally get to come and visit all the places my parents tell me about every year when they come home from their chessed mission to Isreal with Rabbi Besser.
One of the places they always speak about is ALEH and all the wonderful children that live here. One of my favorite things my sister and I love to do is spend time and play with the children at the Special Children’s Center or at the Yachad shabbatonim we have back home in America.
A few years ago, we were lucky enough to have one of the children from Yachad stay at our house with her aide for Shabbat. That was one of my favorite weekends! You see, as different as these children are, inside – they are all just like us. They like to laugh, play, and feel loved. A great rabbi named the Chazon Ish used to stand up when a special needs child would come to see him, and he said that these children have special neshamot (souls) and are kadosh (holy). We don’t know why Hashem makes these children this way, but I think part of the reason may be that he does it for us. Because I know that after I spend time with the children, and make them laugh and feel good, I always leave thinking that I had a better time than they did!
Rabbi Besser always tells us, after we visit one of the centers in America and spend time with the kids there, to think about the fact that we visited for 30 minutes, maybe an hour, and we feel like heroes. But it is the staff, that spend every day taking care of these kids, that we need to acknowledge, and say ‘chazak ubaruch and what a great and special thing it is that you do’.
I pray that Hashem protects and keeps every single of us – and all of Am Yisrael – healthy and happy, and that places like ALEH should be turned into a place for children with no problems – and their only need should be to have fun!
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