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Bat Mitzvah at the Southern Wall

Bat Mitzvah at the Southern Wall

A 13-year-old Jewish girl is standing in front of a wall her ancestors built two thousand years earlier, which was destroyed and rebuilt a dozen times before she was born. She holds a piece of cloth in her hands, made in Israel, purchased in America, and now brought back to Israel for this moment.

On the corners of the garment are the symbols of the ancient promise she now swears to keep. Soon, she wraps it around herself and becomes the newest stone to be placed on the highest course, supported by all those that came before her.

In Jerusalem, time and space refuse to move in straight lines. Every memory gets turned around into a prophecy of the future, every effort to progress in one direction appears a moment later gaining on us from behind. Living here, we forget to expect cause and effect. We live only in spirals.

The girl reads from the scroll that can only end at its beginning and speaks of bleary-eyed Jacob crossing his arms over his grandsons. In a few days she will fly home clockwise in a counter-clockwise world, and dream of coming back to her birthplace which she had never been to before.

Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser is the rabbi of Temple Beit HaYam in in Stuart, FL.

Originally posted at Reb Jeff

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