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The Bas Mitzvah

The word spread quickly among them: The air conditioning in the shul had broken that afternoon


IT was a warm day for March, even for Beit Shemesh.

The girls were all dressed for the bas mitzvah, and when the girls took their places, they realized something was wrong. The word spread quickly among them: The air conditioning in the shul had broken that afternoon.

The girls squirmed in their seats as the bas mitzvah girl delivered a well-thought-out devar Torah, and they went straight to the drink table as soon as the speeches ended.

The mother of the bas mitzvah girl appeared distraught and dismayed. She went over to the mother of her daughter’s best friend and confided, “I’m so upset. We had no choice. We couldn’t find another hall on such short notice, but I feel so bad for my daughter. All she wanted at her bas mitzvah was simchah-filled dancing, an evening when every girl in the class could dance together. And now, it’s so hot in here, I’m sure no one will feel like dancing.”

The other mother looked at the hostess and nodded. “I don’t think we can expect the girls to dance in this heat. Maybe we can arrange another night next week just for dancing?”

The bas mitzvah girl’s mother was not expecting that answer, confirming the reality of a completely ruined bas mitzvah. She looked at her daughter Zehava* and saw the tears begin to pool in the corners of her eyes. And as the tears ran down her daughter’s cheeks, the mother looked away so no one would see her own tears.

Suddenly, just as it seemed everything was lost and the simchah would be ruined, the unexpected occurred.

Huvi, a lively 11-year-old, had overheard the conversation between the two women. She immediately jumped to her feet and, with the determination only an 11-year-old can muster, grabbed the two girls sitting next to her and said, “Let’s dance!”

Dance? Now? In this heat?

Huvi was not to be dissuaded. “If the soldiers can fight for Klal Yisrael in much more dangerous conditions, we can dance in a hot simchah hall!”

Her words were the perfect motivational speech, and almost instantaneously, 30 girls were dancing with enough ruach to open Shaarei Shamayim in no time.

Yet Huvi didn’t rest on her laurels.

She grabbed the bas mitzvah girl, her mother, and then her grandmother. She didn’t stop until the three generations of present and future matriarchs were dancing in the middle as all the girls danced around them.

The girls danced the night away, and even after the music stopped, Huvi ensured the dancing continued.

Finally, as mothers arrived to bring their daughters home, Zehava approached Huvi. “I cannot thank you enough! You saved my entire bas mitzvah! Why did you do it? I mean, we’re friends, but we’re not BFFs.”

Huvi looked at the bas mitzvah girl. “Zehava, my father just finished 150 days of battling the enemies of the Jewish People. He slept in his uniform and fought terrorists for 24 hours straight. I asked him, ‘Abba, what gave you the strength to fight on?’

“He said, ‘When you can do for the Jewish People, you do it. And somehow and someway, Hashem will give you the koach to do what you must do.’ That’s why I danced my heart out tonight. I was following my father’s derech.”

As Zehava hugged Huvi and cried tears of gratitude, Huvi never felt better in her life. She had received so much more than she gave.

And her grandfather, a rabbi in Passaic, New Jersey, received a much-needed pick-me-up in the form of nachas from one of his beloved granddaughters.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1007)

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