Seth, we need to talk. I was in the kitchen with Mom and she’s crying her eyes out. Now, I know that you’ve been acting out at Hebrew School lately. I understand. I was a troublemaker back in my day. But there’s a difference between disrupting class and what Mom just told me. She was on the phone with Principal Simmons who revealed some troubling things that you mentioned. Apparently, my oldest child doesn’t care if he has a Bar Mitzvah.
You know who else almost didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah? Drake.
Kid, you don’t know how fortunate you are. Growing up with two loving parents is not something everyone gets in life. Drake knows this firsthand. The son of a Jewish Canadian mother and black American father, his parents split up when he was just 5 years old. With his dad in another country, he had to learn how to become a man quickly. Part of that is being forced by your parents to take part in a centuries-old tradition to mark your entry into adulthood at 13, even if you really, really don’t want to.
A Bar Mitzvah is a special moment in a young Jew’s life. It’s a rite of passage to mark your entrance into the Jewish community. I had one. Your grandpa had one. Drake had one. It’s an occasion that you’ll look back on in your old age and think, “Wow, that was a really transformative moment in my life.” Much like that Sprite commercial where Drake turned into a robot.
You look surprised, Seth. I may be your old man, but I still keep up with what’s hip and cool. And it was by watching the charts that this promising young rapper out of Toronto came to my attention. You know him as Drake, but sometimes I like to call him by his nickname, Drizzy AKA Drizzy Drake AKA Mr. October AKA Mr. OVOXO. I’m sure there we’re moments when Drizzy felt like blowing off his Bar Mitzvah tutoring to cypher with his homies. Days when he was more interested in A Tribe Called Quest than the Original 12 Tribes of Israel. Hell, I bet there was a time when he thought the 10 Crack commandments were more important than the O.G. version from the Best Deity Alive, God.
But you know what? He stuck to it, even through hard times. Are you getting into trouble because you’re angry at the world? Have you been feeling depressed? You can talk to me, son. We all have our moments of doubt and uncertainty, even the rich and famous. Look at the album cover for “Take Care.” Not even diamond-encrusted chalices or gold-plated owl statues can end the melancholia that drapes Drizzy like one of his many sweaters. But what are the chances Drake even makes it to a second album if he didn’t learn personal responsibility and the importance of tradition that comes from reading the Torah?
If there’s one thing that you’re going to regret, it’s not having a Bar Mitzvah party. You want to find out how it feels to be “too strung out on compliments” and “overdosed on confidence?” You just wait until the girls from your class are fighting over who gets to dance with you. At your Bar Mitzvah party, you’ll be “on one.” Not promethazine and codeine, but the love of your family and friends!
Sounds pretty dope, huh? I thought so. It’s good to see you smiling again. It’s been way too long. We love you with all our heart, son. I really mean it. Your mom and I are gonna be so proud when the Rabbi steps up to the mic and announces to the entire congregation:
“Now coming up to the bimah to take his place amongst the Jewish people… Last name, Bernstein. First name, Seth.”
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles. He likes jokes.
The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.