Jewish Spirituality Rabbinic shabbat

A Coming of Age Ritual

Somehow, I’ve been running pretty hard recently, and though, on paper, I should be getting enough sleep, I’m exhausted. But there’s a bat mitzvah coming up tonight, and I’m getting ready.

A bar or bat mitzvah is always a somewhat strange sort of Shabbat. The service is led mainly by the kids, but somehow that feels more stressful for me as the rabbi, rather than actually a day off. They always do fine (and I’m completely confident in the young lady who will be leading this evening), but I’m always sort of holding my breath through the entire service.

The coming of age ritual is celebratory, and it’s wonderful for the young adult, the congregation, and myself as rabbi and teacher. It’s a privilege to be part of it, but it’s not so much relaxing, and not spiritual as a prayer experience. It’s inspiring in terms of seeing a young man or woman taking their place in community, but I’m too aware of the performance aspect of prayer to pray with intention.

Nonetheless, I’m deeply excited, and will enjoy it. I will also enjoy getting home tomorrow afternoon, at which point I get to collapse.