Dear Rabbi Greg, congregation and friends
My Barmitzvah Parsha must have been hand-picked by God for me because the inspiring message contained in my reading is the story of my life.
The Israelites were slaves unto Pharoah in Egypt for hundreds of years until God brought about the ten plagues which gave rise to Pharoah allowing the Israelites to be freed.
The Israelites felt excited but nervous as they left their life of slavery and were overcome by feelings of anxiety. Moses reassured them of Gods protection.
I personally entered this world under traumatic circumstances and with very little hope. I sought strength and support from my Dad and Mom who never stopped believing in me even when I doubted myself.
Pharaoh changed his mind about giving the Israelites their freedom and tried to hunt them down with his army and chariots. The Israelites were confronted by a colossal obstacle as the Red Sea stood between them and their freedom. They felt deserted by God in their time of crisis and began to panic.
I too have faced extraordinary obstacles along my path to becoming a man and at times was overwhelmed by feelings of fear. However, in my darkest moments I realised that where there is life there is hope.
The Israelites found inner resolve and determination to continue and believed in God. Moses opened the Red Sea and the Israelites found a way to dry land whereas the water closed on the Egyptian Army. God conveyed a message to the Israelites that it is inappropriate to celebrate other’s failures.
No sooner had they overcome adversity but another great impediment lay before them. There was no water or food to keep them alive. Moses calmed them down and encouraged them to apply logic at a time of crisis. In the morning Manna fell from heaven and Moses told the Israelites to take just enough for what they needed and not more.
The Amalek then attacked the Israelites after they had miraculously crossed over the Red Sea into a new life of freedom. They attacked the weakest from behind. Moses went to a higher place and lifted his arms to offer the Israelites positive feelings to overcome the Amalek. If he lowered his arms the Israelites would suffer defeat. His belief in God enabled the victory.
I have confronted fear and doubt from a very young age but have found an inner strength and positive attitude which I carry with me at all times. We are all capable of so much and no hurdle is too great if we approach life with purpose and strength of character.
Today is my Barmitzvah and I stand here feeling very proud but I would not be here were it not the support of Rabbi Greg, Mom, Dad, Jacqui, Jess Mayson and friends.