Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pirkei Hallel

On June 30, 2016, thirteen-year-old Hallel Ariel, may God avenge her blood, was brutally murdered. An Arab terrorist infiltrated her Kiryat Arba community, entered her home, and stabbed her multiple times as she lay in her bed, sleeping in after a dance recital the night before. A horrible and horrifying tragedy, the loss of this beautiful girl created a void for her family and the world as well.

Amazingly, Hallel's mother  Rena emerged with strength and grace, determined to   perpetuate her daughter's memory. Several project were undertaken, including monthly visits to the Temple Mount, naming a wine from their winery, Ariel B'Yehuda, "Hallel" and encouraging people to make blessing over the wine in memory of Hallel, and most recently, a book for bat mitzvah girls that mothers (and grandmothers) and daughters (and granddaughters) can use to learn about important aspects of Jewish life, and about themselves.

As her mother says in an introductory note, "Hallel was a beautiful and happy child, with a smile that lit up the room. She was quiet, with inner strength and a well-developed sense of justice. She possessed genuine modesty and humility, maturity and seriousness. At the same time, like every child, she was playful and knew how to have a good time."

The book is a tribute to this special girl, and the twelves chapters (one for each month of the year prior to bat mitzvah) help girls to develop these traits through "Chesed," "Prayer," "Gratitude," "Beauty and Modesty," and more. The chapters do not have to be read in order, and they are full of questions to answer, activities, and lessons in Jewish learning. The book can also serve as a basis for more questions, activities and learning, but most importantly, as a special time for a mother and daughter to share together.

While many young people take on Chesed projects for their bar or bat mitzvah and learn what they will be doing the day of the celebration in the synagogue, I love the idea of focused study and really making the time leading up to this milestone a journey of getting to know oneself.

Originally published in Hebrew, the book is now available online in English.

1 comment:

  1. Every family touched by these tragedies finds different ways to cope and memorialize those murdered. Gd willing no more.

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