Mazal Tov, Hallel!

Mazal Tov, Hallel!

Last night we celebrated my 2nd daughter’s Hallel’s bat mitzvah…Mazal Tov! I adored the sweet speech she gave…Enjoy!

We have a tradition in our home of “Thank You, Hashem.” Every day, when we come home from school, every child needs to thank Hashem for 5 good things that happened to him or her that day. And then we get to eat.

But when we began this tradition many years ago, there were children who used to say something rushed like: “Thanks Hashem for these french fries, this ketchup, this cup of milk, and for my mother and my father…” And then the next child would say exactly the same rushed thing…”Thanks for these French fries, this ketchup…”

But we felt that this was missing the point. So Eema set up rules:

1. Children are only allowed to say one “Thank You, Hashem” related to food
2. Children are only allowed to mention one “Thank You Hashem” that another child already said.

One day I returned home in a bad mood because I had done badly on my math test, and I had a headache, and my bus had been 15 minutes late. In short, I had had a really bad day.

When I came into the house I smelled Eema’s soup, and I wanted to sit down and start eating right away. But when I entered the kitchen, despite my bad day, Eema asked me to still try to come up with 2 good things that had happened that day.

I was certain that even if I’d search far and wide, I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to say. On such a terrible day OF COURSE nothing good had happened to me. But in the end, I thought of at least 10 “Thank You, Hashems.”

When I told my father this story, I told him that I had learned a few things from it:

1. Good things are happening to us all the time. That’s the way it is! Also on difficult days, we have so much to give thanks for. An infinite amount of things…

2. It was important for me on that difficult day to stop for a moment and to think of everything I’d experienced. And the fact that I was focusing on the good turned my day into a better one in my eyes.

3. Most importantly, I realized that day that I had falsely assumed that if I’m required to do something like saying “Thank You Hashem” then that turns thanking G-d into something that’s a little ridiculous. We do it because we have to, and not because we really believe it. “Wouldn’t it be better to do things when I want to do them, so they are truly coming from my heart?” I thought. But I learned on that day that BECAUSE I was obligated to say “Thank You, Hashem,” I ended up doing what was right and genuinely from my heart.

This is what my sister told me once, that when we start performing mitzvoth as children, they are mindless habits that we perform because we feel required to do them.

But after the bat mitzvah, we are mature enough to understand that it is these mitzvoth that provide us with true meaning in life and faith in Hashem. So we perform them with all of our hearts.

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10 comments

  1. Amanda Elkohen

    Just beautiful! Mazal Tov Hallel!

  2. Daniella

    Chen chen and mazal tov! Very true and very wise.

    You must be bursting with pride. 🙂

  3. Rachel Espinoza

    This is so beautiful. As a baalas tshuva just starting my family, this gives me inspiration and motivation to raise my children with daily structure like ‘Thank you Hashems” to foster their love of and faith in Hashem. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Truly beautiful and inspiring and spoken with wisdom beyond her years! Mazal tov!

  5. Mazel tov to Hallel and the whole family! This is a beautiful reflection – thank you, Chana.

  6. Bracha Goetz

    Awesome, B’H!!

  7. Mazal Tov!!! What a beautiful speech. I can’t imagine what you would have been feeling at that moment. May all us Jewish Moms merit such nachas from our children.

  8. Such a beautiful and deep message! Mazel tov and may you cont. to get machas from all your children!

  9. mazal tov!

  10. Just curious — would any of you say that looking around for the brachos in your life that day vs. Thanking Hashem for things — are those two the same things?

    My family has been working on looking around for the brachos/blessings in our life. I was just wondering if I should be wording it as Thank you Hashem, as it may seem easier for them to understand. Or, is it all the same thing?

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