A Special Bar-Mitzvah Boy’s Torah by Sivan Rahav-Meir

A Special Bar-Mitzvah Boy’s Torah by Sivan Rahav-Meir

Elad Atias from Ma’ale Adumim just turned 13. He suffers from epilepsy, a learning disability, and autism. The following was written to me by his mother, Gali Atias, on the occasion of Simchat Torah that begins tonight:

“From the day Elad was born, I dreamed about his Bar Mitzvah day. I dreamed that his condition would improve, that perhaps he would get well and even have an aliyah to the Torah. As the long awaited day approached, I had to update my dream, but he would still have a Bar Mitzvah like everyone else. Once, in a conversation with parents of another handicapped child, I heard them say they would prefer to erase his Bar MItzvah day from the calendar. This thought accompanied me for years yet, on the contrary, we decided that in our case the Bar Mitzvah of Elad would be a celebration that would convey a powerful message.

The question was not whether to celebrate, but how. After all, Elad is so connected to Shabbat and its songs, to Torah, to tradition. Elad taught us so much throughout this journey, a journey of 13 years. He is the best teacher we could have asked for in life. So if he could not have an aliyah to the Torah, the Torah would come to him. We decided to have a Torah scroll written, installed in the synagogue, and hold a festive ceremony in honor of the event. Elad does not pray with words, but the prayers from his heart break through the gates of heaven, and so it was on that special day. The ceremony was full of meaning and rejoicing, taking place in the company of Elad’s educational and medical team, his large and supportive family, together with other special needs children like him.

This reminded us that there is a part of the Torah for everyone, no matter who or what he is. Each person has his own letter in the Torah, his own connection to the Torah, and his own part of the Torah. Chag sameach.”

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin


  1. What an uplifting piece to read heading into Simhat Torah.

  2. MAZEL TOV!!! May Elad continue to be a source of great joy!!!

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